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> r \ 

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\ r N 
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y A Psychological Study of Primitive > 




; ; Youth for Western Civilisation \ 


> r Assistant Curator of Ethnology > 
'' '' American Museum of ' 


J \ Natural History > 



'A Foreword by Franz Boas \ 


J ^ Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University j 





> V J 


14 ith Hihbcus in her hair 

T> l..( 

To THE Girls of Tau 


*Ou te avatu 

lene't tusitala 

id te ^outou 

O Teineiti ma le Aualuma 

o Tail 



I AM indebted to the generosity of the Board of Fel- 
lowships in the Biological Sciences of the National Re- 
search Council whose award of a fellowship made this 
investigation possible. I have to thank my father for 
the gift of my travelling expenses to and from the 
Samoan Islands. To Prof. Franz Boas I owe the in- 
spiration and the direction of my problem, the training 
which prepared me to undertake such an investigation, 
and the^ticism of my results. 

For a co-operation which greatly facilitated the prog- 
ress of my work in the Pacific, I am indebted to Dr. 
^Herbert E. Gregory, Director of the B. P. Bishop Mu- 

^seum and to Dr. E. C. S. Handy and Miss Stella Jones 
of the Bishop Museum. 

To the endorsement of my work by Admiral Stitt 
and the kindness of Commander Owen Mink, U. S. N., 
I owe the co-operation of the medical authorities in 
Samoa, whose assistance greatly simplified and expe- 
dited my investigation. I have to thank Miss Ellen 
M. Hodgson, Chief Nurse, the staff nurses, the Sa- 
moan nurses, and particularly G. F. Pepe for my first 
contacts and my instruction in the Samoan language. 
To the hospitality, generosity, and sympathetic co-op- 
eration of Mr. Edward R. Holt, Chief Pharmacist 
Mate, and Mrs. Holt, I owe the four months' resi- 
dence in their home which furnished me with an ab- 
solutely essential neutral_base from which I could study 
all the individuals in the village and yet remain 



aloof from native feuds and lines of demarcation. 

The success of this investigation depended upon the 
co-operation and interest of several hundred Samoans. 
To mention each one individually would be impossible. 
I owe special thanks to County Chief Ufuti of Vaitogi 
and to all the members of his household and to the 
Talking Chief Lolo, who taught me the rudiments of 
the graceful pattern of social relations which is so char- 
acteristic of the Samoans. I must specially thank their 
excellencies, Tufele, Governor of Manu'a, and County 
Chiefs Tui Olesega, Misa, Sotoa, Asoao, andXeuL the 
Chiefs Pomele, Nua, Tialigo, Moa, Maualupe, Asi, 
and the Talking Chiefs Lapui and Muaoj the Samoan 
pastors Solomona and lakopo, the Samoan teachers,^ 
Sua, Napoleon, and Etij Toaga, the wife of Sotoa, 
Fa'apua'a, the Taupo of Fitiuta, Fofoa, Laula, Leauala, 
and Felofiaina, and the chiefs and people of all the vil- 
lages of Manu'a and their children. Their kindness, 
hospitality, and courtesy made my sojourn among them 
a happy onej their co-operation and interest made it 
possible for me to pursue my investigation with peace 
and profit. The fact that no real names are used in 
the course of the book is to shield the feelings of those 
who would not enjoy such publicity. 

For criticism and assistance in the preparation of this 
manuscript I am indebted to Dr. R. F. Benedict, Dr. 
L. S. Cressman, Miss M. E. Eichelberger, and Mrs. 
M. L. Loeb. j^_ j^_ 

The American Museum of Natural History, 
March, 1928. 






I TN3 ^ntTrTin >j 









AVE&SSE' (igL 












I Notes to Chapters 249 

II Methodology of This Study . . . -259 

III Samoan Civilisation as It Is To-day . 266 

IV The Mentally Defective and the Mentally Dis- 

eased 278 




V Materials upon Which the Analysis Is Based . 28? 

a. Sample Record Sheet 

b. Table I. Showing Menstrual History, Sex Experi- 

ence and Residence in Pastor's Household 

c. Table H. Family Structure, and Analysis of Table 

d. Intelligence Tests Used 

e. Check List Used in Investigation of Each Girl's 


Glossary of Native Terms Used in the Text . 295 




THE "house to meet THE STRANGEr" 




A chief's HEADDRESS .... 













I 12 

I 12 





MODERN descriptions of primitive people give us a 
picture of their culture classified according to the varied 
^aspects of human life. We learn about inventions, 
household ^unoaiy, family and political organisation, 
and j^gji gious beliefs and practices. Through a com- 
parative studjTbf-these data and through information 
that tells us of their growth and development, we 
endeavour to reconstruct, as well as may be, the history 
of each particular culture. Some anthropologists even 
hope that the comparative study will reveal some tend- 
encies of development that recur so often that signifi- 
cant generalisations regarding the processes of cultural 
growth will be discovered. 

To the lay reader these studies are interesting on 
account of the strangeness of the scene, the peculiar 
attitudes characteristic of foreign cultures that set off 
in stro- ig light our own achievements and behaviour. 

However, a systematic description of human activi- 
ties gives us very little insight into the mental attitudes 
of the individual. His thoughts and actions appear 
merely as expressions of rigidly defined cultural forms. 
We learn little about his rational thinking, about his 
friendships and conflicts with his fellowmen. The per- 
sonal side of the life of the in dividu al is almost_eiim- 




inated in the systematic presentation of the cultural life 
of the people. The picture is standardised, like a col- 
lection of laws that tell us how we should behave, and 
not how we behave j like rules set down defining the 
style of art, but not the way in which the artist elab- 
orates his ideas of beauty j like a list of inventions, anc'. 
not the way in which the individual overcomes tech- 
nical difficulties that present themselves. 

And yet the way in which the personality reacts to 
culture is a matter that should concern us deeply and 
that makes the studies of foreign cultures a fruitful 
and useful field of research. We are accustomed to 
consider all those actions that are part and parcel of oui' 
own culture, standards which we follow automatically, 
as common to all mankind. They are deeply ingrained 
/ in our behaviour. We are moulded in their forms so 
that we cannot think but that they must be valid every- 
where. I 

Courtesy, modesty, good manners, conformity td. 
definite ethical standards are universal, but what con-/ 
stitutes courtesy, modesty, good manners, and ethicai 
standards is not universal. It is instructive to know 
that standards-differ in the most unexpected ways. It 
is still more important to know how the individual . 
reacts to these standards. 
^ In our own civilisation the individual is beset witi i 
difficulties which we are likely to ascribe to fundamentaJ 
human traits. When we speak about the difficulties o.'' 
childhood and of adolescence, we are thinking of then x 

[xiv] , 

■ J 


as unavoidable periods of adjustment through which 
every one has to pass. The whole psycho-analytic ap- 
proach is largely based on this supposition. 

The anthropologist doubts the correctness of these 
views, but up to this time hardly any one has taken the 
pains to identif^hjmself sufficiently with a primitive 
population to obtain an insight into these problems. 
We feel, therefore, grateful to Miss Mead for having 
undertaken to identify herself so completely with 
Samoan youth that she gives us a lucid and clear pic- 
ture of the joys and difficulties encountered by the 
young individual in a culture so entirely different from 
our own. "^i.e csults of her painstaking investigation 
confirm he suspicion long held by anthropologists, that 
much c *• what we ascribe to human nature '.is no more 
than a reaction to the restraints put upon us by our 

Franz Boas. 




DURING the last hundred years parents and teachers 
have ceased to take childhood and adolescence for 
granted. Jlhey have attempted to fit education to the 
needs of the child, rather than to press the child into an 
inflexible educational mould. To this new task they 
have been spurred by two forces, the growth of the 
S£ience of psychology, and the difficulties and malad- 
justments of youth. Psychology suggesfed-that much 
might be gained by a knowledge of the way in which 
children developed, of the stages through which they 
passed, of what the adult world might reasonably expect 
of the baby of two months or the child of two years. 
And the fulminations of the pulpit, the loudly voiced 
laments of the conservative social philosopher, the rec- 
ords of juvenile courts and social agencies all suggested 
that something must be done with the period which 
science had named adolescence. The spectacle of a 
younger generation diverging ever more widely from 
the standards and ideals of the past, cut affifFwithout 
the anchorage of respected home standards or group 
religious values, terrified the cautious reactionary, 
tempted the radical propagandist to missionary crusades 



among the defenceless youth, and worried the least 
thoughtful among us. 

In American civilisation, with its many immigrant 
strains, its dozens of conflicting standards of conduct, 
its hundreds of religious sects, its shifting economic con- 
ditions, this unsettled, disturbed status of youth was 
more apparent than in the older, more settled civilisa- 
tion of Europe. American conditions challenged the 
psychologist, the educator, the social philosopher, to 
offer acceptable explanations of the growing children's 
plight. As to-day in post-war Germany, where the 
younger generation has even more difficult adjustments 
to make than have our own children, a great mass of 
theorising about adolescence is flooding the book shop)Sj 
so the psychologist in America tried to account for the 
restlessness of youth. The result was works like that of 
Stanley Hall on "Adolescence," which ascribed to the 
period through which the children were passing, the 
causes of their conflict and distress. Adolescence 'was 
characterised as the period in which idealism flowered- 
and rebellion against authority waxed strong, a period 
during which difficulties and conflicts were absolutely 

The careful child psychologist who relied upon ex- 
periment for his conclusions did not subscribe to these 
theories. He said, "We have no data. We know onjly 
a little about the first few months of a child's life. We 
are only just learning when a baby's eyes will fiii'st 
follow a light. How can we give definite answers \to 



questions of how a developed personality, about which 
we know nothing, will respond to religion?" But the 
negative cautions of science are never popular. If the 
experimentalist would not commit himself, the social 
philosopher, the preacher and the pedagogue tried the 
harder to give a short-cut answer. They observed the 
behaviour of adolescents in our society, noted down the 
omnipresent and obvious symptoms of unrest, and an- 
nounced these as characteristics of the period. Mothers 
were warned that "daughters in their teens" present 
special problems. This, said the theorists, is a difficult 
period. The physical changes which are going on in the 
bodies of your boys and girls have their definite psy- 
chological accompaniments. You can no more evade * 
one than you can the other 3 ^ your daughter's body 
changes from the body of a child to the body of a 
woman, so inevitably will her spirit change, and that 
stormily. The theorists looked about them again at 
t'-^e adolescents in our civilisation and repeated with 
P ceat conviction, "Yes, stormily." 
?-* cSuch a view, though unsanctioned by the cautious 
t jperimentalist, gained wide currency, influenced our 
educational policy, paralysed our parental eflfort§» Just 
as the mother must brace herself against the baby's 
crying when it cuts its first tooth, so she must fortify 
herself and bear with what equanimity she might the 
unlovely, turbulent manifestations of the "awkward 
age." If there was nothing to blame the child for, 
ntiither was_ there any programme except endurance 




which might be urged upon the teacher. The theor'.st 
continued to observe the l5eMviour of American ado- 
lescents and each year lent new justification to his hy- 
pothesis, as the difficulties of youth were illustrated 
and documented in the records of schools and juvenile 

But meanwhile another way of studying human de- 
velopment had been gaining ground, the approach of 
the anthropologist, the student of man in all of liis 
most diverse social settings. The anthropologist, as he 
pondered his growing body of material upon the cus- 
toms of primitive people, grew to realise the tr_eip.§itt- 
dous-jgle played, in an individuaPs life by the ^ocjal 
environment^ in which each is born and reared. ~One 
by one, aspectS-oi behaviour which we had been accus- 
tomed to consider invariable complements of our hu- 
manity were found to be merely a result of civilisation, 
present in the inhabitants of one country, absent, in an- 
other country, and this without a change of race. F)(e^ 
learned that neither race nor common humanity caft-^e, 
held responsible for many of the forms which ev/^i 
such basic human emotions as love and fear and angilr 
take under different social conditions. j 

So the anthropologist, arguing from his observatioius 
of the behaviour of adult human beings in other civi- 
lisations, reaches many of the same conclusions wliidh 
the behaviourist reaches in his wo7t^upoh~humanT3aBi7es 
who have as yet no civilisation to shape their malleabjje 



With such an attitude towards human nature the 
anthropologist listened to the current comment upon 
adolescence. He heard attitudes which seemed to him 
dependent upon social environment — such as rebellion 
against authority, philosophical perplexities, the flower- 
ing of idealism, conflict and struggle — ascribed to a 
^period of physical development. And on the basis of 
his knowledge of the determinism of culture, of the 
plasticity of human beings, he doubted. Were these 
difiiculties due to being adolescent or to being adoles- 
ce nt in Amer ica ? 

For the biologist who doubts an old hypothesis or 
wishes to test out a new one, there is the biological 
laboratory. There, under conditions over which he can 
exercise the most rigid control, he can vary the light, 
the air, the food, which his plants or his animals re- 
ceive, from the moment of birth throughout their life- 
time. Keeping all the conditions but one constant, he q^ 
can make accurate measurement of the effect of the ^^ 
one. This is the ideal method of science, the method "^jJ^tJ 
of the- controlled experiment, through which all hy- -^ '^ ' 
potheses may be submitted to a strict objective test. ' 

Even the student of infant psychology can only par- 

tially reproduce thesejdeal laboratory conditions. He 
cnnnot j:ontrol the pre-natal environment of the child 
whom he will later subject to objective ineasuremeht. 
.rie can, however, control the early environment of the 
iihiH, the first few days of its existence, and decide 
what sounds and sights and smells and tastes are to 



impinge upon it. But for the student of the adoles- 
cent there is no such simplicity of working conditions. 
What -We. wish to test is no less than the effect of civili- 
sation upon a developing human being at the age'^of 
puberty. To test it most rigorously we would have to 
construct various sorts of different civilisations and sub- 
ject large numbers of adolescent children to these dif- 
, ferent environments. We would list the influences the 
I effects of which we wished to study. If we wished to 
study the influence of the size of the family, we would 
construct a series of civilisations alike in every respect 
except in family organisation. Then if we found dif- 
ferences in the behaviour of our adolescents we could 
say with assurance that size of family had caused the 
difference, that, for instance, the only child had a more 
troubled adolescence than the child who was a member 
of a large family. And so we might proceed through 
a dozen possible situations — early or late sex knowl- 
edge, early or late sex-experience, pressure towards pre- 
cocious development, discouragement of precocious de- 
velopment, segregation of the sexes or coeducation ( 
from infancy, division of labour between the sexes or 
common tasks for both, pressure to make religious 
choices young or the lack of such pressure. We would 
vary one factor, while the others remained quite con- 
stant, and analyse which, if any, of the aspects of our 
civilisation were responsible for the difficulties of oui*'^ 
children at adolescence. — -^ I 

Unfortunately, such ideal methods of experiment' 

[6] 1 


are denied to us when our materials are humanity and 
the whole fabric of a social order. The test colony of 
Herodotus, in which babies were to' be isolated and the 
results recorded, is not a possible approach. Neither 
is the method of selecting from our own civilisation 
groups of children who meet one requirement or an- 
other. Such a method would be to select five hundred 
adolescents from small families and five hundred from 
large families, and try to discover which had experi- 
enced the greatest difficulties of adjustment at adoles- 
cence. But we could not know what were the other 
influences brought to bear upon these children, what 
effect their knowledge of sex or their neighbourhood 
environment may have had upon their adolescent de- 

What method then is open to us who wish to con- 
duct a human experiment but who lack the power either 
to construct the experimental conditions or to find con- 
trolled examples of those conditions here and there 
throughout our own civilisation? The only method is 
that^of the anthropologist, to go to a^ -different civilisa- 
tion and make a. study of human beings under different 
cultural ^conditions in . SiiQie_x»ih£iL part _of the world. 
For such studies the anthropologist chooses quite sim- 
p] I peoples, primitive peoples, whose society has never 
at^ined the complexity of our own.^ In this choice of 
primitive peoples like the Eskimo, the Australian, the 
South Sea islander, or the Pueblo Indian, the anthro- 
pologist is guided by the knowledge that the analyg[s 



V of a simpler civilisation is more possible of attainment. 

' In complicated civilisations like those of Europe, or 

the higher civilisations of the East, years ol. study are 

necessary before the student can begin to understand 

"{he forces at work within them. A study of the French 

family alone would involve a preliminary study of 

French history, of French law, of the Catholic and 

^ ^Protestant attitudes towards sex and personal relations. 

^. . jp\. primitive people without a written language present 

^r Ta much less elaborate problem and a trained student 

vv"* I can master the fundamental structure of a primitivfeg^ 

society m a lew months. ^ \\ 



Furthermore, we do not choose a simple peasant 
community in Europe or an isolated group of moun- 
ain whites in the American South, for these people's 
ays of life, though- simple, belong essentially to the 
istorical tradition to which the complex parts of Eu- 
opean or American civilisation belong. Instead, we 
!♦. choose primitive groups who have had thousands of 
■years of historical development along com.pletely dif- 
U^ferent lines from our own, whose language does not 
■.possess_our Indo-European categories, whose religious 
ideas are of a different nature, whose social organisa- 
tion is^ not onIy~srmpler but yery"different from our 
ownr~F*fom~ these contrasts, which are vividT enough 
to startle and enlighten those accustomed to our o'' /n 
way_of life and simple en ough, grasped guicklj^, 
it is possible to learn many things about the effect ol 
a civilisation upon the individuals within it. 

[8] " 1 


So, in order to investigate the particular problem, I 
chose to go not to Germany or to Russia, but to Samoa, 
a South Sea island about thirteen degrees from the 
Equator, inhabited by a brown Polynesian people. Be- 
cause I was a woman and could hope for greater in- 
timacy in working with girls rather than with boys, and 
because owing to a paucity of women ethnologists our 
knowledge of primitive girls is far slighter than our 
knowledge of boys, I chose to concentrate upon the 
•adolescent girl in Samoa. 

But in concentrating, I did something very different 
Prom what I would do if I concentrated upon a study 
of the adolescent girl in Kokomo, Indiana. In such a 
study, I would go right to the crux of the problem j I 
would not have to linger long over the Indiana lan- 
guage, the table manners or sleeping habits of my sub- 
jects, or make an exhaustive study of how they learned 
to dress themselves, to use the telephone, or what the 
concept of conscience meant in Kokomo. All these 
things are the general fabric of American life, known 
to me as investigator, known to you as readers. 

But with this new experiment on the primitive ado- 
lescent girl the matter was quite otherwise. She spoke a 
language the very sounds of which were strange, a lan- 
guage in which nouns became verbs and verbs nouns in 
the most sleight-of-hand fashion. All of her habits 
of life were different. She sat cross-legged on the 
ground, and to sit upon a chair made her stiff and mis- 
erable. She ate with her fingers from a woven plate j 





she slept upon the floor. Her house was a mere circle 
of pillars, roofed by a cone of thatch, carpeted with 
water-worn coral fragments. Her whole material en- 
vironment was different. Cocoanut palm, breadfruit, 
and mango trees swayed above her village. She had 
never seen a horse, knew no animals except the pig, 
dog and rat. Her food was taro, breadfruit and ba- 
nanas, fish and wild pigeon and half-roasted pork, and 
land crabs. And just as it was necessary to understand 
this physical environment, this routine of life which 
was so different from ours, so her social environment 
in its attitudes towards children, towards sex, towards 
personality, presented as strong a contrast to the social 
environment of the American girl.. 

I concentrated upon the girls of the community. I 
spent the greater part of my time with them. I studied 
most closely the households in which adolescent girls 
lived. I spent more time in the games of children than 
in the councils of their elders. Speaking their lan- 
guage, eating their food, sitting barefoot and cross- 
legged upon the pebbly floor, I did my best to mini- 
mise the differences between us and to learn to know 
and understand all the girls of three little villages on 
the coast of the little island of Tau, in the Manu'a 

Through the nine months which I spent in Samoa, 
I gathered many detailed facts about these girls, the 
size of their families, the position and wealth of their 
parents, the number of their brothers and sisters, 'vhe 
amount of sex experience which they had had. AH of. 



these routine facts are summarised in a table in the 
appendix. They are only the barest skeleton, hardly 
the raw materials for a study of family situations and 
sex relations, standards of friendship, of loyalty, of 
personal responsibility, all those impalpable storm cen- 
tres of disturbances in the lives of our adolescent girls. 
•<?\.nd because these less measurable parts of their lives 
were so similar, because one girl's life.w'as so niuch_like-. 
another's, in an uncomplex, uniform culture like Samoa, 
I^feel justified in generalising although I studied only 
fifty girls in three small neighbouring villages. 

In the following chapters I have described the lives 
of these girls, the lives of their younger sisters who 
will soon be adolescent, of their brothers with whom 
a strict taboo forbids them to speak, of their older sis- 
ters who have left puberty behind them, of their elders, 
the mothers and fathers whose attitudes towards life 
determine the attitudes of their children. And through 
this description I have tried to answei^he question 
which sent me to' Samoa: Are the disturbances which 
vex our adolescents du e to the nature of adolescence 
itself or to the civilisation j^ Under different conditions / 
does adolescence present a different picture? 

Also, by the nature of the problem, because of the 
unfamiliarity of this simple life on a small Pacific 
island, I have had to give a picture of the whole social 
life of Samoa, the details being selected always with 
a view to illuminating the problem of adolescence. 
Matters of political organisation which neither interest"^ 
ncr influence the young girl are not included. Minutiae 


of relationship systems or ancestor cults, genealogies 
and mythology, which are of interest only to the spe- 
cialist, will be published in another place. But I have 
/triedrto present to the reader the Samoan girl in her 
*,social setting, to describe the course of her life from 
birth until death, the problems she will have to solve, 
the values which will guide her in her solutions, the 
pains and pleasures of her human lot cast on a South 
Sea island^ 

Such a description seeks to do more than illuminate 
this particular problem. It should also give the reader 
some conception of a different and contrasting civilisa- 
tion, another way of life, which other members of the 
human race have found satisfactory and gracious. We 
know that our subtlest perceptions, our highest values, 
are all based upon contrast 3 that light without darkness 
or beauty without ugliness would lose the qualities 
which they now appear to us to have. And similarly, 
if we would appreciate our own civilisation, this elabo- 
rate pattern of life which we have made for ourselves 
as a people and which we are at such pains to pass on 
to our children, we must set our civilisation over against 
other very different ones. The traveller in Europe 
returns to America, sensitive to nuances in his own 
manners and philosophies which have hitherto gone 
unremarked, yet Europe and America are parts of one 
civilisation. It is with variations within one great p;'t- 
tern that the student of Europe to-day or the student 
of our own history sharpens his sense of appreciatif^'n* 
But if we step outside the stream of Indo-Europ'^an 

[12] I 


culture, the appreciation which we can accord our civili- 
sation is even more enhanced. Here in remote parts 
of the world, under historical conditions very different 
from those which made Greece and Rome flourish and 
fall, groups of human beings have worked out patterns 
of life so different from our own that we cannot ven- 
ture any guess that they would ever have arrived at 
our solutions. /E^zh. primitive people has selected one 
set of human gifts, one set of human values, and fash- 
ioned for themselves an art, a social organisation, a re- 
ligion, which is their unique contribution to the history 
of the human spirit, v 

Samoa is only one of these diverse and gracious 
patterns, but as the traveller who has been once from 
home is wiser than he who has never left his own door 
step, so a knowledge of one other culture should 
sharpen our ability to scrutinise more steadily, to ap- 
preciate more lovingly, our own. 

And, because of the particular problem which we set 
out to answer, this tale of another way of life is 
mainly concerned with education, with the process by 
which the baby, arrived cultureless upon the human 
scene, becomes a full-fledged adult member of his or 
her society. The strongest light will fall upon the 
ways in which Samoan education, in its broadest sense, 
differs from our own. And from this contrast we may 
be able to turn, made newly and vividly self-conscious 
and self-critical, to judge anew and perhaps fashion 
differently the education we give our children. 




THE life of the day begins at dawn, or if the moon 
has shown until daylight, the shouts of the young men 
may be heard before dawn from the hillside. Uneasy 
in the night, populous with ghosts, they shou> lustily) 
to one another as they hasten with their work. As the 
dawn begins to fall among the soft brown roofs and 
the slender palm trees jtand out against a colourless, 
^^^leaming^a, Tovers'slip home from trysts beneath the 
palm trees or in the shadow of Reached canoes, that the 
light may find each sleeper in. his appointed place. 
Cocks crow, negligently, and a^iiimrill-volced bird cries 
from the breadfruit trees. The insistent roar of the 
reef seems muted to an undertone for the sounds of 
a waking village. Babies cry, a few short wails before 
sleepy mothers give them the breast. Restless little 
children roll out of their sheets and wander drowsily 
down to the beach to freshen their faces in the sea. 
Boys, bent upon an early fishing, start collecting their 
tackle and go to rouse their more laggard companions. 
Fires are lit, here and there, the white smoke hardly 
visible against the paleness of the dawn. The "w hole 
village, sheeted and frowsy, stirs, rubs its eyes, and 
stumbles towards the beach. "Talofa!" "Talofa!" 



"Will the journey start to-day?" "Is it bonito fishing 
your lordship is going?" Girls stop to giggle over some 
young ne'er-do-well who escaped during the night from 
an angry father's pursuit and to venture a shrewd guess 
that the daughter knew more about his presence than 
she told. The boy who is taunted by another, who has 
succeeded him in his sweetheart's favour, grapples with 
his rival, his foot slipping in the wet sand. From the 
other end of the village comes a long drawn-out, pierc- 
ing wail. A messenger has just brought word of the 
death of some relative in another village. Half-clad, 
unhurried women, with babies at their breasts, or astride 
their hips, pause in their tale of Losa's outraged de- 
parture from her fathers house to thegreater kindness 
in the home of her undo, to wonder who is dead. Poor 
relatives whisper thqfrrequests to rich relatives, men 
make plans to set a nsh trap together, a woman begs 
a bit of yellow dye from a kinswoman, and through 
the village sounds the rhythmic tattoo which calls the 
young men together. They gather from all parts of 
the village, digging sticks in hand, ready to start inland 
to the plantation. The older men set off upon their 
more lonely occupations, and each household, reassem- 
bled under its peaked roof, settles down to the routine 
of the morning. Little children, too hungry to wait 
for the late breakfast, beg lumps of cold taro which 
they munch greedily. Women carry piles of washing 
to the sea or to the spring at the far end of the village, 
or set off inland after weaving materials. The older 



girls go fishing on the reef, or perhaps set themselves 
to weaving a new set of Venetian blinds. 

In the houses, where the pebbly floors have been 
swept bare with a stiff long-handled broom, the women 
great with child and the nursing mothers, sit and gossip 
with one another. Old men sit apart, unceasingly 
twisting palm husk on their bare thighs and muttering 
old tales under their breath. The carpenters begin 
work on the new house, while the owner bustles about 
trying to keep them in a good humour. Families who 
will cook to-day are hard at workj the taro, yams and 
bananas have already been brought from inland j the 
children are scuttling back and forth, fetching sea 
water, or leaves to stuff the pig. As the sun rises 
higher in the sky, the shadows deepen under the 
thatched roofs, the sand is burning to the touch, the 
hibiscus flowers wilt on the hedges, and little children 
bid the smaller ones, "Come out of the sun." Those 
whose excursions have been short return to the village, 
the women with strings of crimson jelly fish, or baskets 
of shell fish, the men with cocoanuts, carried in baskets 
slung on a shoulder pole. The women and children 
eat their breakfasts, just hot from the oven, if this is 
cook day, and the young men work swiftly in the mid- 
day heat, preparing the noon feast for their elders. 

It is high noon. The sand burns the feet of the 
little children, who leave their palm leaf balls and 
their pin-wheels of frangipani blossoms to wither in 
the sun, as they creep into the shade of the houses. The 



women who must go abroad carry great banana leaves 
as sun-shades or wind wet cloths about their heads. 
Lowering a few blinds against the slanting sun, all who 
are left in the village wrap their heads in sheets and 
go to sleep. Only a few adventurous children may 
slip away for a swim in the shadow of a high rock, 
some industrious woman continue with her weaving, 
or a close little group of women bend anxiously over 
a woman in labour. The village is dazzling and deadj 
any sound seems oddly loud and out of place. Words 
have to cut through the solid heat slowly. And then 
the sun gradually sinks over the sea. 

A second time, the sleeping people stir, roused per- 
haps by the cry of "a boat," resounding through the 
village. The fishermen beach their canoes, weary and 
spent from the heat, in spite of the slaked lime on their 
heads, with which they have sought to cool their brains 
and redden their hair. The brightly coloured fishes are 
spread out on the floor, or piled in front of the houses 
until the women pour water over them to free them 
from taboo. Regretfully, the young fishermen sepa- 
rate out the "Taboo fish," which must be sent to the 
chief, or proudly they pack the little palm leaf baskets 
with offerings of fish to take to their sweethearts. 
Men come home from the bush, grimy and heavy 
laden, shouting as they come, greeted in a sonorous 
rising cadence by those who have remained at home. 
They gather in the guest house for their evening kava 
drinking. The soft clapping of hands, the high- 



pitched intoning of the talking chief who serves the 
kava echoes through the village. Girls gather flowers 
to weave into necklaces j children, lusty from their 
naps and bound to no particular task, play circular 
games in the half shade of the late afternoon. Finally 
the sun sets, in a flame which stretches from the moun- 
tain behind to the horizon on the sea, the last bather 
comes up from the beach, children straggle home, dark 
little figures etched against the skyj lights shine in the 
houses, and each household gathers for its evening 
meal. The suitor humbly presents his offering, the 
children have been summoned from their noisy play, 
perhaps there is an honoured guest who must be served 
first, after the soft, barbaric singing^_f_ C hristian hym ns 
and the brief and graceful evening prayer. In front 
of a house at the end of the village, a father cries out 
the birth of a son. In some family circles a face is 
missing, in others little runaways have found a haven! 
Again quiet settles upon the village, as first the head 
of the household, then the women and children, and 
last of all the patient boys, eat their supper. 

After supper the old people and the little children 
are bundled off to bed. If the young people have 
guests the front of the house is yielded to them. For 
day is the time for the councils of old men and the 
labours of youth, and night is the time for lighter 
things. Two kinsmen, or a chief and his councillor, sit 
and gossip over the day's events or make plans for the 
morrow. Outside a crier goes through the village an- 




/'//;• " tl'jiise t'j ?tteet the Stra/i'ier" 

.Hik ' wssn 



nouncing that the communal breadfruit pit will be 
opened in the morning, or that the village will make 
a great fish trap. If it is moonlight, groups of young 
men, women by twos and threes, wander through the 
village, and crowds of children hunt for land crabs or 
chase each other among the breadfruit trees. Half the 
village may go fishing by torchlight and the curving 
reef will gleam with wavering lights and echo with 
shouts of triumph or disappointment, teasing words or 
smothered cries of outraged modesty. Or a group of 
youths may dance for the pleasure of some visiting 
maiden. Many of those who have retired to sleep, 
drawn by the merry music, will wrap their sheets about 
them and set out to find the dancing. A white-clad, 
ghostly throng will gather in a circle about the gaily 
lit house, a circle from which every now and then a 
few will detach themselves and wander away among 
the trees. Sometimes sleep will not descend upon the 
village until long past midnight j then at last there is 
only the mellow thunder of the reef and the whisper 
of lovers, as the village rests until dawn. 




BIRTHDAYS are of little account in Samoa. But for 
the birth itself of the baby of high rank, a great feast 
will be held, and much property given away. The first 
baby must always be born in the mother's village and 
if she has gone to live in the village of her husband, 
she must go home for the occasion.\ For several months 
before the birth of the child the father's relatives have 
brought gifts of food to the prospective mother, while 
the mother's female relatives have been busy making 
pure white bark cloth for baby clothes and weaving 
dozens of tiny pandanus mats which form the layette. 
The expectant mother goes home laden with food gifts 
and when she returns to her husband's family, her 
family provide her with the exact equivalent iq^ mats 
and bark cloth as a gift to them. At theylbirth j/tself 
the father's mother or sister must be present to care for 
the new-born baby while the midwife and the relatives 
of the mother care for her. There is no privacy about 
a birth. Convention dictates that the mother should 
neither writhe, nor cry out, nor inveigh against the 
presence of twenty or thirty people in the house who 
sit up all night if need be, laughing, joking, and play- 
ing games. The midwife cuts the cord with a fresh 



bamboo knife and then all wait eagerly for the cord to 
fall off, the signal for a feast. If the baby is a girl, 
the cord is buried under a paper mulberry tree (the 
tree from which bark cloth is made) to ensure her -S^-^ 
growing up to be industrious at household tasks j for \C^^ 
a boy it is thrown into the sea that he may be a skjlled 
fisherman, or planted under a taro plant to give him 
industry in farming, y Then the visitors go home, the 
mother rises and goes about her daily tasks, and thq 
new baby ceases to be of much interest to any one.\ 
The day, the month in which it was born, is forgotten i;^^-. 
Its first steps or first word are remarked without exu- 
berant comment, without ceremony. It has lost all 
ceremonial importance and will not regain it again 
until after puberty j in most Samoan villages a girl.-'^ 
will be ceremonially ignored until she is married. And 
even the mother remembers only that Losa is older 
than Tupu, and that her sister's little boy, Fale, j 
younger than her brother's child, Vigo. Relative, agf 
is of great importance, for the elder may always com- 
mand the younger — until the positions of adult life 
upset the arrangement — but actual age may well be 

Babies are always nursed, and in the few cases where 
the mother's milk fails her, a wet nurse is sought among 
the kinsfolk. From the first week they are also given 
other food, papaya, cocoanut milk, sugar-cane juice j 
the food is either masticated by the mother and then 
put into the baby's mouth on her finger, or if it is 



liquid, a piece of bark cloth is dipped into it and the 
child allowed to suck it, as shepherds feed orphaned 
lambs. The babies are nursed whenever they cry and 
there is no attempt at regularity. Unless a woman 
expects another child, she will nurse a baby until it is 
two or three years old, as the simplest device for paci- 
fying its crying. Babies sleep with their mothers as 
long as they are at the breast j after weaning they are 
usually handed over to the care of some younger girl 
in the household. They are bathed frequently with 
the juice of a wild orange and rubbed with cocoanut 
oil until their skins glisten. 

/The chief nurse-maid is usually a child of six or 
seven who is not strong enough to lift a baby over six 
months old, but who can carry the child straddling the 
left hip, or on the small of the back. A child of six 
or seven months of age will assume this straddling 
position naturally when it is picked up. Their diminu- 
tive nurses do not encourage children to walk, as babies 
who can walk about are more complicated charges. 
They walk before they talk, but it is impossible to give 
the age of walking with any exactness, though I saw 
two babies walk whom I knew to be only nine months 
old, and my Impression is that the average age is about 
a year. The life on the floor, for all activities within 
a Samoan house are conducted on the floor, encourages 
crawling, and children under three or four years of 
age optionally crawl or walk. 

From birth "^^-j *-^^ ^g^rfr^*^^ ^r fiir^ o child's 




education is^exceedinglY simple. They must be house- 
broken, a matter made more difficult by an habitual 
indifference to the activities of very small children. 
They must learn to sit or crawl within the house and 
never to stand upright unless it is absolutely necessary; 
never to address an adult in a standing position; to stay 
out of the sun J not to tangle the strands of the weaver j 
not to scatter the cut-up cocoanut which is spread out 
to dry J to keep their scant loin cloths at least nominally 
fastened to their persons j to treat fire and knives with 
proper caution j not to touch the kava bowl, or the kava 
cup J and, if their father is a chief, not to crawl on his 
bed-place when he is by. These are reallyfsimply^a^ 
series of avoidances, enforced by occasional cuffings andj 
a deal of exasperated shouting and ineffectual conver^J 

The weight of the punishment usually falls upon the t 
next oldest child, who learns to shout, "Come out ofj 
the sun," before she has fully appreciated the necessity 
of doing so herself. By the time Samoan girls and 
boys have reached sixteen or seventeen years of age 
these perpetual admonitions to the younger ones have 
become an inseparable part of their conversation, a 
monotonous, irritated undercurrent to all their com- 
ments. ..I have known them to intersperse their re- 
marks every two or three minutes with, "Keep still," 
"Sit still," "Keep your mouths shut," "Stop that noise," 
uttered quite mechanically although all of the little 
ones present may have been behaving as quietly as a 



row of intimidated mice. On the whole, this last re- 
quirement o£.5ilence is contmually mentioned and never 
enforced. The little nurses are more interested in 
-^eace than in forming the characters of their small 
charges and when a child begins to howl, it is simply 
/yrdragged out of earshot of its elders. No mother will 
y 1^*1 ever exert herself to discipline a younger child if an 
tolder one can be made responsible. -^ 

If small families of parents and children prevailed 
in Samoa, this system would result in making half of 
the population solicitous and self-sacrificing and the 
other half tyrannous and self-indulgent. But just as 
a child is getting old enough so that its wilfulness is 
becoming unbearable, a younger one is saddled upon 
it, and the whole process is repeated again, each child 
being disciplined and socialised through responsibility 
for a still younger oner'^ 

This fear of the disagreeable consequences resulting 
from a child's crying, is so firmly fixed in the minds 
of the older children that long after there is any need 
for it, they succumb to some little tyrant's threat of 
making a scene, and five-year-olds bully their way into 
expeditions on which they will have to be carried, into 
weaving parties where they will tangle the strands, and 
cook houses where they will tear up the cooking leaves 
or get thoroughly smudged with the soot and have to 
be washed — all because an older boy or girl has be- 
come so accustomed to yielding any point to stop an 
outcry. , 

[24] \ 


This method of giving in, coaxing, bribing, diverting 
the infant disturbers is only pursued within the house- 
hold or the relationship group, where there are duly 
constituted elders in authority to punish the older chil- 
dren who can't keep the babies still. Towards a neigh- 
bour's children or in a crowd the half-grown girls and 
boys and even the adults vent their full irritation upon 
the heads of troublesome children. If a crowd of chil- 
dren are near enough, pressing in curiously to watch 
some spectacle at which they are not wanted, they are 
soundly lashed with palm leaves, or dispersed with a 
shower of small stones, of which the house floor always 
furnishes a ready supply. This treatment does not 
seem actually to improve the children's behaviour, but 
merely to make them cling even closer to their fright- 
ened and indulgent little guardians. It may be sur- 
mised that stoning the children from next door pro- 
vides a most necessary outlet for those who have spent 
so many weary hours placating their own young rela- 
tives. And even these bursts of anger are nine-tenths 
gesture. No one who throws the stones actually means 
to hit a child, but the children know that if they repeat 
their intrusions too often, by the laws of chance some 
of the flying bits of coral will land in their faces. 
Even Samoan dogs have learned to estimate the pro- 
portion of gesture that there is in a Samoan's "get out 
of the house." They simply stalk out between one set 
of posts and with equal dignity and all casualness stalk 
in at the next opening. 



By the time a child is six or seven she has all the 
essential avoidances well enough by heart to be trusted 
with the care of a younger child. And she also de- 
velops a number of simple techniques. , She learns to 
weave firm square balls from palm leaves, to make 
pin-wheels of palm leaves or frangipani blossoms, to 
climb a cocoanut tree by walking up the trunk on flex- 
ible little feet, to break open a cocoanut with one firm 
well-directed blow of a knife as long as she is tall, to 
play a number of group games and sing the songs which 
go with them, to tidy the house by picking up the litter 
on the stony floor, to bring water from the sea, to 
spread out the copra to dry and to help gather it in when 
rain threatens, to roll the pandanus leaves for weaving, 
to go to a neighbouring house and bring back a lighted 
fagot for the chief's pipe or the cook-house fire, and to 
exercise tact in begging slight favours from relatives. 

But in the case of the little girls all of these tasks 
are merely supplementary to the main business of baby- 
tending. Very small boys also have some care of the 
younger children, but at eight or nine years of age they 
are usually relieved of it. Whatever rough edges have 
not been smoothed off by this responsibility for younger 
children are worn off by their contact with older boys. 
For little boys are admitted t-) interesting and important 
activities only so long as their behaviour is circumspect 
and helpful. Where small girls are brusquely pushed 
aside, small boys will be patiently tolerated and they 
become adept at making themselves useful. The four 



or five little boys who all wish to assist at the impor- 
tant business of helping a grown youth lasso reef eels, 
organise themselves into a highly efficient working 
teamj one boy holds the bait, another holds an extra 
lasso, others poke eagerly about in holes in the reef 
looking for prey, while still another tucks the captured 
eels into his lavalava. The small girls , burdened with ,,- 
heavy babies or the care of little staggerers who are 
too small to adventure on the reef, discouraged by the 
hostility of the small boys and the scorn of the older 
ones, h ave litt le opportunity for learning the more ad- 
venturous forms of work and play. So while the little 
boys first undergo the chastening effects of baby-tending 
and then have many opportunities to learn effective co- 
operation under the supervision of older boys, the girls' ' 
education is less comprehensive. They have a high 
standard of individual responsibility but the community | 
provides them with no lessons in co-operation with one I 
another. This' is particularly apparent in the activities ■• 
of young people J the boys organise quickly; the girls 
waste hours in bickering, innocent of any technique for 
quick and efficient co-operation. 

And as the woman who goes fishing can only get 
away by turning the babies over to the little girls of 
the household, the little girls cannot accompany their 
aunts and mothers. So they learn even the simple 
processes of reef fishing much later than do the boys. 
They are kept at the baby-tending, errand-running 
stage until they are old enough and robust enough to 



work on the plantations and carry foodstuffs down to 
the village. 

A girl is given these more strenuous tasks near the 
age of puberty, but it is purely a question of her phys- 
ical size and ability to take responsibility, rather than 
of her physical maturity. Before this time she has 
occasionally accompanied the older members of the 
family to the plantations if they were willing to take 
the babies along also. But once there, while her 
brothers and cousins are collecting cocoanuts and rov- 
ing happily about in the bush, she has again to chase 
and shepherd and pacify the ubiquitous babies. 
^■As soon as the girls are strong enough to carry heavy 
loads, it pays the family to shift the responsibility for 
the little children to the younger girls and the adoles- 
cent girls are released from baby-tending. It may be 
said with some justice that the worst period of their 
"^ I lives is over. Never again will they be so incessantly 
\ at the beck and call of their elders, never again so 
^tyrannised over by two-year-old tyrants. All the irri- 
tating, detailed routine of housekeeping, which in our 
civilisation is accused of warping the souls and souring 
the tempers of grown women, is here performed by 
children under fourteen years of age. A fire or a pipe 
to be kindled, a call for a drink, a lamp to be lit, the 
baby's cry, the errand of the capricious adult — these 
haunt them from morning until night. With the in- 
troduction of several months a year of government 
schools these children are being taken out of their 



homes for most of the day. This brings about a com- 
plete disorganisation of the native households which 
have no precedents for a manner of life where mothers 
have to stay at home and take care of their children 
and adults have to perform small routine tasks and 
run errands. 
. Before their release from baby-tending the little 
girls have a very limited knowledge of any of the 
more complicated techniques. Some of them can do 
the simpler work in preparing food for cooking, such 
as skinning bananas, grating cocoanuts, or scraping 
taro. A few of them can weave the simple carrying 
basket. But now they must learn to weave all their 
own baskets for carrying supplies j learn to select taro 
leaves of the right age for cooking, to dig only mature 
taro. In the cook-house they learn to make palusami, 
to grate the cocoanut meat, season it with hot stones, 
mix it with sea water and strain out the husks, pour 
this milky mixture into a properly made little container 
of taro leaves from which the aromatic stem has been 
scorched off, wrap these In a breadfruit leaf and fasten 
the stem tightly to make a durable cooking jacket. 
They must learn to lace a large fish into a palm leaf, 
or roll a bundle of small fish in a breadfruit leaf j to 
select the right kind of leaves for stuffing a pig, to 
judge when the food in the oven of small heated stones 
is thoroughly baked. Theoretically the bulk of the 
cooking is done by the boys and where a girl has to 
do the heavier work, it is a matter for comment: 



"Poor Losa, there are no boys in her house and always 
she must make the oven." But the girls always help 
and often do a great part of the work. 

Once they are regarded as individuals who can de- 
vote a long period of time to some consecutive activity, 
girls are sent on long fishing expeditions. . They learn 
to weave fish baskets, to gather and arrange the bundles 
of fagots used in torch-light fishing, to tickle a devil 
fish until it comes out of its hole and climbs obediently 
upon the waiting stick, appropriately dubbed a "come 
hither stick" j to string the great rose-coloured jelly- 
fish, loley a name which Samoan children give to candy 
also, on a long string of hibiscus bark, tipped with a 
palm leaf rib for' a needle j to know good fish from 
bad fish, fish that are in season from fish which are 
dangerous at some particular time of the yearj and 
never to take two octopuses, found paired on a rock, 
lest bad luck come upon the witless fisher. 

Before this time their knowledge of plants and trees 
is mainly a play one, the pandanus provides them with 
seeds for necklaces, the palm tree with leaves to weave 
balls J the banana tree gives leaves for umbrellas and 
half a leaf to shred into a stringy "choker" j cocoanut 
shells cut in half, with cinet strings attached, make a 
species of stilt j the blossoms of the Pua tree can be 
sewed into beautiful necklaces. Now they must learn 
to recognise these trees and plants for more serious 
purposes j they must learn when the pandanus leaves 
are ready for the cutting and how to cut the long leaves 



with one sure quick stroke j they must distinguish be- 
tween the three kinds of pandanus used for different 
grades of mats. The pretty orange seeds which made 
such attractive and also edible necklaces must now be 
gathered as paint brushes for ornamenting bark cloth. 
Banana leaves are gathered to protect the woven plat- 
ters, to wrap up puddings for the oven, to bank the 
steaming oven full of food. Banana, bark must be 
stripped at just the right point to yield the even, pliant, 
black strips, needed to ornament mats and baskets. 
Bananas themselves must be distinguished as to those 
which are ripe for burying, or the golden curved banana 
ready for eating, or bananas ready to be sun-dried for 
making fruit-cake rolls. Hibiscus bark can no longer 
be torn off at random to give a raffia-like string for a 
handful of shells j long journeys must be made inland 
to si^ect bark of the right quality for use in weaving. 
\.^ln the house the girPs principal task is to learn to 
weave. She has to master several different techniques. 
First, she learns to weave palm branches where the 
central rib of the leaf serves as a rim to her basket or 
an edge to her mat and where the leaflets are already 
arranged for weaving. From palm leaves she first 
learns to weave a carrying basket, made of half a leaf, 
by plaiting the leaflets together and curving the rib 
into a rim. Then she learns to weave the Venetian 
blinds which hang between the house posts, by laying 
one-half leaf upon another and plaiting the leaflets 
together. More difficult are the floor mats, woven of 



four great palm leaves, and the food platters with their 
intricate designs. There are also fans to make, simple 
two-strand weaves which she learns to make quite well, 
more elaborate twined ones which are the prerogative 
of older and more skilled weavers. Usually some 
older woman in the household trains a girl to weave 
and sees to it that she makes at least one of each kind 
of article, but she is only called upon to produce in 
quantity the simpler things, like the Venetian blinds. 
From the pandanus she learns to weave the common 
floor mats, one or two types of the more elaborate bed 
mats, and then, when she is thirteen or fourteen, she 
begins her first fine mat. The fine mat represents the 
high point of Samoan weaving virtuosity. Woven of 
the finest quality of pandanus which has been soaked 
and baked and scraped to a golden whiteness and paper- 
like thinness, of strands a sixteenth of an inch in width, 
these mats take a year or two years to weave and are 
as soft and pliable as linen. They form the unit of 
value, and must always be included in the dowry of 
the bride. Girls seldom finish a fine mat until they 
are nineteen or twenty, but the mat has been started, 
and, wrapped up in a coarser one, it rests among the 
rafters, a testimony to the girPs industry and manual 
skill. She learns the rudiments of bark cloth making j 
she can select and cut the paper mulberry wands, peel 
off the bark, beat it after it has been scraped by more 
expert hands. The patterning of the cloth with a pat- 




tern board or by free hand drawing is left for the more 
experienced adult. 
. Throughout this more or less systematic period of 
education, the girls maintain a very nice balance be- 
tween a reputation for the necessary minimum of 
knowledge and a virtuosity which would make too . 
heavy demands. A girl's chances of marriage are '^^yyj.^ 
badly damaged if it gets about the village that she is ^ 
lazy and inept in domestic tasks. But after these first 
stages have been completed the girl marks time tech- 
nically for three or four years. She does the routine 
weaving, especially of the Venetian blinds and carrying 
baskets. She helps with the plantation work and the 
cooking, she weaves a very little on her fine mat. But 
she thrusts virtuosity away from her as she thrusts 
away every other sort of responsibility with the in- , 
variable comment, "Laititi a'u" ("I am but young"). 
All of her interest is expended on clandestine sex ad- .^ 
ventures, and she is content to do routine tasks as, to a 
certain extent, her brother is also. 

But the seventeen-year-old boy is not left passively 
to his own devices. , He has learned the rudiments of 
fishing, he can take a dug-out canoe over the reef 
safely, or manage the stern paddle in a bonito boat. 
He can plant taro or transplant cocoanut, husk cocoa- 
nuts on a stake and cut the meat out with one deft 
quick turn of the knife. Now at seventeen or eighteen 
he is thrust into the Aumaga, the society of the young 





men and the older men without titles, the group that 
is called, not in euphuism but in sober fact, "the 
strength of the village." Here he is badgered into 
efficiency by rivalry, precept and example. The older 
chiefs who supervise the activities of the Aumaga gaze 
equally sternly upon any backslidings and upon any 
undue precocity. The prestige of his group is ever 
being called into account by the Aumaga of the neigh- 
bouring villages. His fellows ridicule and persecute 
the boy who fails to appear when any group activity is 
on foot, whether work for the village on the planta- 
tions, or fishing, or cooking for the chiefs, or play in 
the form of a ceremonial call upon some visiting 
maiden. Furthermore, the youth is given much more 
stimulus to learn and also a greater variety of occupa- 
tions are open to him. There is no specialisation among 
women, except in medicine and mid-wifery, both the 
prerogatives of very old women who teach their arts 
to their middle-aged daughters and nieces. The only 
other vocation is that of the wife of an official orator/ 
and no girl will prepare herself for this one type of 
marriage which demands special knowledge, for she 
has no guarantee that she will marry a man of this 

For the boy it is different. He hopes that some day 
he will hold a matal name, a name which will make 
him a member of the FonOy the assembly of headmen, 
which will give him a right to drink kava with chiefs, 
to work with chiefs rather than with the young men, 




to sit inside the house, even though his new title is 
only of "between the posts" rank, and not of enough 
importance to give him a right to a post for his back. 
But very seldom is he absolutely assured of getting 
such a name. Each family hold several of these titles 
which they confer upon the most promising youths in 
the whole family connection. He has many rivals. 
They also are in the Aumaga. He must always pit 
himself against them in the group activities. There 
are also several types of activities in one of which he 
must specialise. He must become a house-builder, a 
fisherman, an orator or a wood carver. Proficiency in 
some technique must set him off a little from his fel- 
lows. * Fishing prowess means immediate rewards in 
the shape of food gifts to offer to his sweetheart; with- 
out such gifts his advances will be scorned. Skill in 
house-building means wealth and status, for a young 
man who is a skilled carpenter must be treated as cour- 
teously as a chief and addressed with the chief's lan- 
guage, the elaborate set of honorific words used to 
people of rank. And with this goes the continual de- ■ 
mand that he should not be too efficient, too outstand- 
ing, too precocious. He must never excel his fellows^ 
by more than a little. He must neither arouse their 
hatred nor the disapproval of his elders who are far 
readier to encourage and excuse the laggard than to 
condone precocity. And at the same time he shares his 
sister's reluctance to accept responsibility, and if he 
should excel gently, not too obviously, he has good 



chances of being made a chief. If he is sufficiently 
talented, the Fono itself may deliberate, search out a 
Vacant title to confer upon him and call him in that 
he may sit with the old men and learn wisdom. And 
yet so well recognised is the unwillingness of the young 
men to respond to this honour, that the provision is 
always made, "And if the young man runs away, then 
never shall he be made a chief, but always he must sit 
outside the house with the young men, preparing and 
serving the food of the matais with whom he may 
not sit in the FonoJ*' Still more pertinent are the 
chances of his relationship group bestowing a matai 
name upon the gifted young man. And a matai he 
wishes to be, some day, some far-off day when his 
limbs have lost a little of their suppleness and his heart 
the love of fun and of dancing. As one chief of 
twenty-seven told me: "I have been a chief only four 
years and look, my hair is grey, although in Samoa grey 
hair comes very slowly, not in youth, as it comes to 
the white man. But always, I must act as if I were 
old. I must walk gravely and with a measured step. 
I may not dance except upon most solemn occasions, 
neither may I play games with the young men. Old 
men of sixty are my companions and watch my every 
word, lest I make a mistake. Thirty-one people live 
in my household. For them I must plan, I must find 
them food and clothing, settle their disputes, arrange 
their marriages. There is no one in my whole family 
who dares to scold me or even to address me familiarly 



by my first name. It is hard to be so young and yet 
to be a chief." And the old men shake their heads 
and agree that it is unseemly for one to be a chief so 

■ The operation of natural ambition is further vitiated 
by the fact that the young man who is made a matai 
will not be the greatest among his former associates, 
but the youngest and greenest member of the Fono. 
And no longer may he associate familiarly with his old 
companions J a matai must associate only with maiais,) 
must work beside them in the bush and sit and tall 
quietly with them in the evening. 

And so the boy is faced by a far more difficult di- 
lemma than the girl. He dislikes responsibility, but 
he wishes to excel in his group j skill will hasten the 
day when he is made a chief, yet he receives censure 
and ridicule if he slackens his efforts; but he will be 
scolded if he proceeds too rapidly; yet if he would 
win a sweetheart, he must have prestige among hiS; 
fellows. And conversely, his social prestige is in- 
creased by his amorous exploits. v^ 
^J So while the girl rests upon her "pass" proficiency, \ ^ 
the boy is spurred to greater efforts. A boy is shy of / 
a girl who does not have these proofs of efficiency and 
is known to be stupid and unskilled; he is afraid he 
may come to want to marry her. Marrying a girl with- 
out proficiency would be a most imprudent step and 
involve an endless amount of wrangling with his fam- 
ily. So the girl who is notoriously inept must take her 



lovers from among the casual, the jaded, and the mar- 
ried who are no longer afraid that their senses will be- 
trp,y them into an imprudent marriage. 
C But the seventeen-year-old girl does not wish to 
niarry — not yet. It is better to live as a girl with no 
b. responsibility, and a rich variety of emotional experi- 
ence. This is the best period of her lifeJ There are 
as many beneath her whom she may bully as there are 
others above her to tyrannise over her. What she loses 
in prestige, she gains in freedom. She has very little 
baby-tending to do. Her eyes do not ache from weav- 
ing nor does her back break from bending all day over 
the tapa board. The long expeditions after fish and 
food and weaving materials give ample opportunities 
for rendezvous. Proficiency would mean more work, • 
more confining work, and earlier marriage, and mar- 

y riage is the inevitable to be deferred as long as possible. . 





A SAMOAN yillage is-made up of some thirty to forty 
households, each of which is presided over by a head- 
man called a ly^ai- These headmen hold either 
chiefly titles or the titles of talking chiefs, who are 
the official orators, spokesmen and ambassadors of 
chiefs. In a formal village assembly each f?i'atai has 
his place, and represents and is responsible for all the 
members of his household. These households include 
all the individuals who live for any length of time 
under the authority and protection of a common 
Tnatai. Their composition varies from the biological 
family consisting of parents and children only, to 
households of fifteen and twenty people who are all 
related to the matai or to his wife by blood, marriage 
or adoption, but who often have no close relationship 
to each other. The adopted members of a household 
are usually but not necessarily distant relatives. 

Widows and widowers, especially when they are 
childless, usually return to their blood relatives, but a 
married couple may live with the relatives of either one. 
Such a household is not necessarily a close residential 
unit, but may be scattered over the village in three or 



four houses. No one living permanently in another 
village is counted as a member of the household, which 
is strictly a local unit. Economically, the household is 
also a unit, for all work upon the plantations under the 
supervision of the mata± who jn turn parcels out to 
them food and other necessities. 

Within the household,, age rather than relationship 
gives disciplinary authority. The matai exercises nomi- 
nal and usually real authority over every individual 
under his protection, even over his father and mother,* 
This control is, of course, modified by personality dif- 
ferences, always carefully tempered,-' however, by a 
ceremonious acknowledgment of his position. The 
newest baby born into such a household is subject to 
every individual in it, and his position improves no 
whit with age until a younger child appears upon the 
scene. But in most households the position of youngest 
is a highly temporary one. Nieces and nephews or 
destitute young cousins come to swell the ranks of the 
household and at adolescence a girl stands virtually in 
the middle v/ith as many individuals who must obey 
her as there are persons to whom she owes obedience. 
Where increased efficiency and increased self-conscious- 
ness would perhaps have made her obstreperous and 
restless in a differently organised family, here she has 
ample outlet for a growing sense of authority. 

This development is perfectly regular. A girPs 
marriage makes a minimum, of difference in this re- 
spect, except in so far as her own children increase 



most pertinently the supply of agreeably docile subor- 
dinates. But the girls who remain unmarried even be- 
yond their early twenties are in nowise less highly re- 
garded or less responsible than their married sisters. 
This tendency to make the classifying principle age, 
rather than married state, is reinforced outside the home 
by the fact that the wives of untitled men and all un- 
married girls past puberty are classed together in the 
ceremonial organisation of the village. 

Relatives in other households also play a role in the 
children's lives. ..Any older relative has a right to de- 
mand personal service from younger relatives, a right to 
criticise their conduct and to interfere in their affairs. 
Thus a little girl may escape alone down to the beach 
to bathe only to be met by an older cousin who sets 
her washing or caring for a baby or to fetch some 
cocoanut to scrub the clothes. ' So closely is the dail^ 
life bound up with this universal servitude and so nu- 
merous are the acknowledged relationships in the name 
of which service can be exacted, that for the children 
an hour's escape from surveillance is almost impossible.^ 

This loose but demanding relationship group has its 
compensations also. Within it a child of three can 
wander safely and come to no harm, can be sure of 
finding food and drink, a sheet to wrap herself up in 
for a nap, a kind hand to dry casual tears and bind up 
her wounds. Any small children who are missing 
when night falls, are simply "sought among their kins- 
folk," and a baby whose mother has gone inland to 



work on the plantation is passed from hand to hand 
for the length of the village. 

\ The ranking by age is disturbed in only a few cases. 
fin each village one or two high chiefs have the heredi- 
tary right to name some girl of their household as its 
taufOy the ceremonial princess of the house. The girl 
who at fifteen or sixteen is made a taufo is snatched 
from her age group and sometimes from her immedi- 
ate family also and surrounded by a glare of prestige] 
The older women of the village accord her courtesy 
titles, her immediate family often exploits her posi- 
tion for their personal ends and in return show great 
consideration for her wishes. But as there are only 
two or three tau-pos in a village, their unique position 
serves to emphasise rather than to disprove the gen- 
eral status of young girls. 

Coupled with this enormous diffusion of authority 
goes a fear of overstraining the relationship bond, 
which expresses itself in an added respect for person- 
ality. The very number of her captors is the girPs 
protection, for does one press her too far, she has but 
to change her residence to the home of some more 
complacent relative. It is possible to classify the dif- 
ferent households open to her as those with hardest 
work, least chaperonage, least scolding, largest or least 
number of contemporaries, fewest babies, best food, 
etc. Few children live continuously in one household, 
but are always testing out other possible residences. 
And this can be done under the guise of visits and with 



no suggestion of truancy. But the minute that the 
mildest annoyance grows up at home, the possibility of 
flight moderates the discipline and alleviates the child's 
sense of dependency. No Samoan child, except the 
tawpOy or the thoroughly delinquent, ever has to deal 
with a feeling of being trapped. There are always 
relatives- to whom one can flee. This is the invariable 
answer which a Samoan gives when some familial im- 
passe is laid before him. "But she will go to some 
other relative." And theoretically the supply of rela- 
tives is inexhaustible. Unless the vagrant has com- 
mitted some very serious offence like incest, it is only 
necessary formally to depart from the bosom of one's 
household. A girl whose father has beaten her over 
severely in the morning will be found living in haughty 
sanctuary, two hundred feet away, in a different house- 
hold. So cherished is this system of consanguineous 
refuge, that an untitled man or a man of lesser rank 
wuITeard the nobler relative who comes to demand a 
runaway child. With great politeness and endless ex- 
pressions of conciliation, he will beg his noble chief to 
return to his noble home and remain there quietly until 
his noble anger is healed against his noble child. 

The most important relationships * within a Samoan -c^ 
household which influence the lives of the young peo- 
ple are the relationships between the boys and girls 
who call each other "brother" and "sister," whether 
by blood, marriage or adoption, and the relationship 
betweer younger and older relatives. The stress upon 

* See / ppendix, page 249. 



the sex difference between contemporaries and the em- 
phasis on relative age are amply explained by the con- 
ditions of family life. Relatives of opposite sex have 
a most rigid_ code^o^ etiguettejir^scribed for all their 
contacts with each other. After they have reached 
years of discretion, nine or ten years of age in this 
case, they may not touch each other, sit close together, 
eat together, address each other familiarly, or mention 
any salacious matter in each other's presence. They 
may not remain in any house, except their own, to- 
gether, unless half the village is gathered there. They 
may not walk together, use each other's possessions, 
dance on the same floor, or take part in any of the same 
small group activities. This strict ^atvoidance applies to 
all individuals of the opposite sex within five years 
above or below one's own age with whom one was 
reared or to whom one acknowledges relationship by 
blood or marriage. The conformance to this brother 
and sister taboo begins when the younger of the two 
children feels "ashamed" at the elder's touch and con- 
tinues until old age when the decrepit, toothless pair 
of old siblings may again sit on the same mat and not 
feel ashamed. 

Teiy the word for younger relative, stresses the other 
most emotionally charged relationship. The first ma- 
ternal enthusiasm of a girl is never expended upon her 
own children but upon some younger relative. And it 
is the girls and women who use this term most, con- 
tinuing to cherish it after they and the younger ones 



to whom It is applied are full grown. The younger 
child in turn expends its enthusiasm upon a still 
younger one without manifesting any excessive affec- 
tion for the fostering elders. 

The word aiga is used roughly to cover all relation- 
ships by blood, marriage and adoption, :ind the emo- 
tional tone seems to be the same in each case. Rela- 
tionship by marriage is counted only as long as an 
actual marri.ige connects two kinship groups. If the 
marriage is broken in any way, by desertion, divorce, 
or death, the relationship is dissolved and members of 
the two families are free to marry each other. If the 
marriage left any children, a reciprocal relationship 
exists between the two households as long as the child 
lives, for the mother's family will always have to con- 
tribute one kind of property, the father's family an- 
other, for occasions when property must be given away 
in the name of the child. 

A relative is regarded as some one upon whom one 
has a multitude of claims and to whom one owes a mul- ^ 
titude of obligations. From a relative one may demand 
food, clothing, and shelter, or assistance in a feud. Re- 
fusal of such a demand brands one as stingy and lack- 
ing in human kindness, the virtue most esteemed among ^ 
_the Samoans. No definite repayment Is made at the 
time such services are given, except In the case of the 
distribution of food to all those who share In a family 
enterprise. But careful count of the value of the prop- / 
erty given and of the service rendered Is kept and a 



return gift demanded at the earliest opportunity. 
Nevertheless, in native theory the two acts are sepa- 
rate, each one in turn becoming a "beggar," a pen- 
sioner upon another's bounty. In olden times, the beg- 
gar sometimes wore a special girdle which delicately 
hinted at the cause of his visit. One old chief gave 
\/ me a graphic descriptioivpf the ^behaviour of some one 
who had come to ask a favour of a relative. "He will 
come early in the morning and enter quietly, sitting 
down in the very back of the house, in the place of 
least honour. You will say to him, ^So you have come, 
be welcome!' and he will answer, *I have come indeed, 
saving your noble presence.' Then you will say, ^Are 
you thirsty? Alas for your coming, there is little that 
is good within the house.' And he will answer, *Let 
■ it rest, thank you, for indeed I am not hungry nor 
would I drink.' And he will sit and you will sit all 
day long and no mention is made of the purpose of 
his coming. All day he will sit and brush the ashes 
out of the hearth, performing this menial and dirty 
task with very great care and attention. If some one 
must go inland to the plantation to fetch food, he is 
the first to offer to go. If some one must go fishing 
to fill out the crew of a canoe, surely he is delighted 
to go, even though the sun is hot and his journey 
hither has been long. And all day you sit and won- 
der, *What can it be that he has come for? Is it that 
largest pig that he wants, of has he heard perhaps that 
my daughter has just finished a large and beautiful 



piece of tapa? Would it perhaps be well to send that 
tapa, as I had perhaps planned, as a present to my talk- 
ing chief, to send it now, so that I may refuse him with 
all good faith?' And he sits and studies your counte- 
nance and wonders if you will be favourable to his re- 
quest. He plays with the children but refuses the neck- 
lace of flowers which they have woven for him and 
gives it instead to your daughter. Finally night comes. 
It is time to sleep and still he has not spoken. So 
finally you say to him, *Lo, I would sleep. Will you 
sleep also or will you be returning whence you have 
come?' And only then will he speak and tell you the 
desire in his heart." 

So the intrigue, the needs, the obligations of the^ 
larger relationship group which threads its carefully 
remembered way in and out of many houses and many "^ 
villages, cuts across the life of the household. One 
day it is the wife's relatives who come to spend a 
month or borrow a fine mat j the next day it is the hus- 
band's j the third, a niece who is a valued worker in 
the household may be called home by the illness of 
her father. Very seldom do all of even the small chil-^n 
dren of a biological family live in one household and jT 
while the claims of the household are paramount, in 
the routine of everyday life, illness or need on the part 
of the closer relative in another household will call the 
wanderers home again. 

Obligations either to give general assistance or to 
give specific traditionally required service, as in a mar- 



riage or at a birth, follow relationship lines, not house- 
hold lines. But a marriage of many years' duration 
binds the relationship groups of husband and wife so 
closely together that to all appearances it is the house- 
hold unit which gives aid and accede^ to a request 
brought by the relative of either one. \Only in fami- 
lies of high rank where the distaff side has priority 
in decisions and in furnishing the tau-pOy the princess 
of the house, and the male line priority in holding the 
title, does the actual blood relationship continue to be 
a matter of great practical importance j and this impor- 
tance is lost in the looser household group constituted 
as it is by the three principles of blood, marriage and 
adoption, and bound together by common ties of every- 
^ day living and mutual economic dependence, j 

The matai of a household is theoretically exempt 
from the performance of small domestic tasks, but he 
is seldom actually so except in the case of a chief of 
high rank. However, the leading role is always ac- 
corded to him in any industrial pursuit j he dresses the 
/ pig for the feasts and cuts up the cocoanuts which the 
^, boys and women have gathered. The family cooking 
is done by the men and women both, but the bulk of 
the work falls upon the boys and young men. The old 
men spin the cocoanut fibre, and braid it into the native 
cord which is used for fish lines, fish nets, to sew canoe 
parts together and to bind all the different parts of a 
house in place. With the old women who do the bulk 
of the weaving and making of bark cloth, they super- 



vise the younger children who remain at home. The 
heavy routine agricultural work falls upon the women 
who are responsible for the weeding, transplanting, 
gathering and transportation of the food, and the gath- 
ering of the paper mulberry wands from which bark 
will be peeled for making tapa, of the hibiscus bark 
and pandanus leaves for weaving mats. The older 
girls and women also do the routine reef fishing for 
octopuses, sea eggs, jelly fish, crabs, and other small 
fry. The younger girls carry the water, care for the 
lamps (to-day except in times of great scarcity when 
the candle nut and cocoanut oil are resorted to, the na- 
tives use kerosene lamps and lanterns), and sweep and 
arrange the houses. Tasks are all graduated with a 
fair recognition of abilities which differ with age, and 
except in the case of individuals of very high rank, a 
task is rejected because a younger person has skill 
enough to perform it, rather than because it is beneath 
an adult's dignity. 

Rank in the village and rank In the household reflect 
each other, but village rank hardly affects the young 
children. If a girl's father is a mataiy the matai of the 
household in which she lives, she has no appeal from 
his authority. But if some other member of the family 
is the mataiy he and his wife may protect her from her 
father's exactions. In the first case, disagreement with 
her father means leaving the household and going to 
live with other relatives j in the second case it may 
mean only a little internal friction. Also in the family 




of a nigh chief or a high talking chief there is more 
emphasis upon ceremonial, more emphasis upon hospi- 
tality. The children are better bred and also much 
harder worked. But aside from the general quality of 
a household which is dependent upon the rank of its 
head, households of very different rank may seem very 
similar to young children. They are usually more con- 
cerned with the temperament of those in authority than 
with their rank. An uncle in another village who is 
a very high chief is of much less significance in a child's 
life than some old woman in her own household who 
has a frightful temper. 
-^ Nevertheless, rank not of birth but of title is very 
important in Samoa. The status of a village depends 
upon the rank of its high chief, the prestige of a house- 
hold depends upon the title of its matai. Titles are of 
two grades, chiefs and talking chiefs| each title carries 
many other duties and prerogatives besides the head- 
ship of a household. And the Samoans find rank a 
never-failing source of interest. (Xhey have invented 
an elaborate courtesy language which must be used to 
people of rank J complicated etiquette surrounds each 
rank in society. Something which concerns their elders 
so nearly cannot help being indirectlv reflected in the 
lives of some of the children. This is particularly true 
of the relationship of children to each other in house- 
holds which hold titles to which some of them will one 
day attain. How these far-away issues of adult life 
effect the lives of children and young people can best 



be understood by following their influence in the lives 
of particular children. 

In the household of a high chief named Malae lived 
two little girls, Meta, twelve, and Timu, eleven. Meta 
was a self-possessed, efficient little girl. Malae had 
taken her from her mother's house — her mother was 
his cousin — because she showed unusual intelligence and 
precocity. Timu, on the other hand, was an abnor- 
mally shy, backward child, below her age group in in- 
telligence. But Meta's mother was only a distant 
cousin of Malae. Had she not married into a strange 
village where Malae was living temporarily, Meta 
might never have come actively to the notice of her 
noble relative. And Timu was the only daughter of 
Malae's dead sister. Her father had been a quarter 
caste which served to mark her off and increase her 
self-consciousness. Dancing was an agony to her. She 
fled precipitately from an elder's admonitory voice. 
But Timu would be Malae's next taupo, princess. She 
was pretty, the principal recognised qualification, and 
she came from the distafF side of the house, the pre- 
ferred descent for a tatc-po. So Meta, the more able 
in every way, was pushed to the wall, and Timu, mis- 
erable over the amount of attention she received, was 
dragged forward. The mere presence of another more 
able and enterprising child would probably have em- 
phasised Timu's feeling of inferiority, but this pub- 
licity stressed it painfully. Commanded to dance on 
every occasion, she would pause whenever she caught 



an onlooker's eye and stand a moment wringing her 
hands before going on with the dance. 

In another household, this same title of Malae's 
taupo played a different role. This was in the house- 
hold of Malae's paternal aunt who lived with her hus- 
band in Malae's guest house in his native village. Her 
eldest daughter, Pana, held the title of tawpo of the 
house of Malae. But Pana was twenty-six, though still 
unmarried. She must be wedded soon and then an- 
other girl must be found to hold the title. Timu 
would still be too young. Pana had three younger sis- 
ters who by birth were supremely eligible to the title. 
But Mele, the eldest of twenty, was lame, and Pepe 
of fourteen was blind in one eye and an incorrigible 
tomboy. The youngest was even younger than Timu. 
So all three were effectually barred from succession. 
This fact reacted favourably upon the position of Filita. 
She was a seventeen-year-old niece of the father of the 
other children with no possible claims on a title in the 
house of Malae, but she had lived with her cousins 
since childhood. Filita was pretty, efficient, adequate, 
neither lame like Mele nor blind and hoydenish like 
Pepe. True she could never hope to be taufo, but 
neither could they, despite their superior birth, so 
peace and amity reigned because of her cousins' defi- 
ciencies. Still another little girl came within the circle 
of influence of the title. This was Pula, another little 
cousin in a third village. But her more distant rela- 
tionship and possible claims were completely obscured 


A chiefs daughter and the bfiby of the household zvhose \elloz 
hair will some day make a chiefs headdress 


by the fact that she was the only granddaughter of the 
highest chief in her own village and her becoming the 
tawpo of that title was inevitable so that her life was 
untouched by any other possibility. Thus six girls in 
addition to the present taufOy were influenced for good 
or evil by the possibility of succession to the title. But 
as there are seldom more than one or two taupos in a 
village, these influences are still fairly circumscribed 
when compared with the part which rank plays in the 
lives of boys, for there are usually one or more matai 
names in every relationship group. 

Rivalry plays a much stronger part here. In the 
choice of the taufo and the mana'ia (the titular heir- 
apparent) there is a strong prejudice in favour of 
blood relationship and also for the choice of the tawpo 
from the female and the manaia from the male line. 
But in the interests of efficiency this scheme had been 
modified, so that most titles were filled by the most 
able youth from the whole relationship and affinity 
group. So it was in Alofi. Tui, a chief of importance 
in the village, had one son, an able intelligent boy. 
Tui's brothers were dull and inept, no fit successors to 
the title. One of them had an ill-favoured young son, 
a stupid, unattractive youngster. There were no other 
males in the near relationship group. It was assumed 
that the exceedingly eligible son would succeed his 
father. And then at twenty he died. The little 
nephew hardly gave promise of a satisfactory develop- 
ment, and so Tui had his choice of looking outside his 




village or outside of his near relationship group. Vil- 
lage feeling runs high in Tui's village. Tui's blood 
relatives lived many villages away. They were stran- 
gers. If he did not go to them and search for a prom- 
ising youth whom he could train as his successor, he 
must either find an eligible young husband for his 
daughter or look among his wife's people. Provision- 
ally he took this last course, and his wife's brother's son 
came to live in his household. In a year, his new 
father promised the boy, he might assume his dead 
cousin's name if he showed himself worthy. 

In the family of high chief Fua a very different 
problem presented itself. His was the highest title in 
the village. He was over sixty and the question of 
succession was a moot one. The boys in his household 
consisted of Tata, his eldest son who was illegitimate, 
Molo and Nua, the sons of his widowed sister, Sisi, his 
son by his first legal wife (since divorced and re- 
married on another island), and Tuai, the husband of 
his niece, the sister of Molo and Nua. And in the 
house of Fua's eldest brother lived his brother's daugh- 
ter's son, Alo, a youth of great promise. Here then 
were enough claimants to produce a lively rivalry. 
Tuai was the oldest, calm, able, but not sufiiciently 
hopeful to be influenced in his conduct except as it 
made him more ready to assert the claims of superior 
age over his wife's younger brothers whose claims were 
better than his. Next in age came Tata, the sour, 
beetle-browed bastard, whose chances were negligible 



as long as there were those of legitimate birth to dis- 
pute his left-handed claims. But Tata did not lose 
hope. Cautious, tortuous-minded, he watched and 
waited. He was in love with Lotu, the daughter of a 
talking chief of only medium rank. For one of Fua's 
sons, Lotu would have been a good match. But as 
Fua's bastard who wished to be chief, he must marry 
high or not at all. The two nephews, Molo and Nua, 
played different hands. Nua, the younger, went away f'^^'T".' 
to seek his fortune as a native marine at the Naval Sta- \^.(c ^_ 
tion. This meant a regular income, some knowledge 
of English, prestige of a sort. Molo, the elder brother, 
stayed at home and made himself indispensable. He 
was the tamafafine, the child of the distaff side, and it u^ 
was his role to take his position for granted, the ta?na- 
jafine of the house of Fua, what more could any one 
ask in the way of immediate prestige. As for the fu- 
ture — his manner was perfect. All of these young 
men, and likewise Alo, the great nephew, were mem- 
bers of the Aumaga, grown up and ready to assume 
adult responsibilities. Sisi, the sixteen-year-old legiti- 
mate son, was still a boy, slender, diffident, presuming 
far less upon his position as son and heir-apparent than 
did his cousin. He was an attractive, intelligent boy. 
If his father lived until Sisi was twenty-five or thirty, 
his succession seemed inevitable. Even should his 
father die sooner, the title might have been held for 
him. But in this latter possibility there was one 
danger. Samala, his father's older brother, would 



have a strong voice in the choice of a successor to the 
title. And Alo was Samala's adored grandson, the 
son of his favourite daughter. Alo was the model 
of all that a young man should be. He eschewed the 
company of women, stayed much at home and rigor- 
ously trained his younger brother and sister. While 
the other young men played cricket, he sat at Samala's 
feet and memorised genealogies. He never forgot 
that he was the son of Safua, the house of Fua. More 
able than Molo, his claim to the title was practically 
as good, although within the family group Molo as 
the child of the distaff side would always outvote him. 
So Alo was Sisi's most dangerous rival, provided his 
father died soon. And should Fua live twenty years 
longer, another complication threatened his succession. 
Fua had but recently re-married, a woman of very high 
rank and great wealth who had a five-year-old illegiti- 
mate son, Nifo. Thinking always of this child, for she 
and Fua had no children, she did all that she could to 
undermine Sisi's position as heir-apparent and there was 
every chance that as her ascendency over Fua increased 
with his advancing age, she might have Nifo named as 
his successor. His illegitimacy and lack of blood tie 
would be offset by the fact that he was child of the dis- 
taff side in the noblest family in the island and would 
inherit great wealth from his mother. 

Of a different character was the problem which con- 
fronted Sila, the stepdaughter of Ono, a matal of low 
rank. She was the eldest in a family of seven children. 



Ono was an old man, decrepit and ineffective. Lefu, 
Sila's mother and his second wife, was worn out, weary 
from bearing eleven children. The only adult males 
in the household were Laisa, Ono's brother, an old man 
like himself, and Laisa's idle shiftless son, a man of 
thirty, whose only interest in life was love affairs. He 
was unmarried and shied away from this responsibility 
as from all others. The sister next younger than Sila 
was sixteen. She had left home and lived, now here, 
now there, among her relatives. Sila was twenty-two. 
She had been married at sixteen and against her will 
to a man much older than herself who had beaten her 
for her childish ways. After two years of married life, 
she had run away from her husband and gone home to 
live with her parents, bringing her little two-year-old 
boy, who was now five years old, with her. At twenty 
she had had a love affair with a boy of her own village, 
and borne a daughter who had lived only a few months. 
After her baby died her lover had deserted her. Sila 
disliked matrimony. She was conscientious, sharp- 
tongued, industrious. She worked tirelessly for her 
child and her small brothers and sisters. She did not 
want to marry again. But there were three old people 
and six children in her household with only herself and 
her idle cousin to provide for them. And so she said , 
despondently: "I think I will get married to that boy." 
"Which boy, Sila?" I asked. "The father of my baby 
who is dead." "But I thought you said you did not 
want him for a husband?" "No more do I. But I 



must find some one to care for my family." And in- 
deed there was no other way. Her stepfather's title 
was a very low one. There were no young men within 
the family to succeed to it. Her lover was industrious 
and of even lower degree. The bait of the title would 
secure a worker for the family. 

f"^ And so within many households the shadow of nor 
bility falls upon the children, sometimes lightly, some- 
>/ 1 times heavily, often long before they are old enough 
\ to understand the meaning of these intrusions from 
I the adult world. 



UNTIL a child is six or seven at least she associates 
very little with her contemporaries. Brothers and sis- 
ters and small cousins who live in the same household, 
of course, frolic and play together, but outside the 
household each child clings closely to its older guardian 
and only comes in contact with other children in case 
the little nursemaids are friends. But at about seven 
years of age, the children begin to form larger groups, 
a kind of voluntary association which never exists in 
later life, that is, a group recruited from both relation- 
ship and neighbourhood groups. These are strictly 
divided along sex lines and antagonism between the 
small girls and the small boys is one of the salient fea- ' 
tures of the group life. The little girls are just begin- V 
ning to "be ashamed" in the presence of older brothers, *^ 
and the prohibition that one small girl must never join 
a group of boys is beginning to be enforced. The fact 
that the(boys are less burdened and so can range fur- 
ther afield in search of adventure, while the girls have ^ 
to carry their heavy little charges with them, also makes 
a difference between the sexes. ^ The groups of small 
children which hang about the fringes of some adult 



activity often contain both girls and boys, but here the 
association principle is simply age discrimination on the 
part of their elders, rather than voluntary association 
on the children's part. 

These age gangs are usually confined to the children 
who live in eight or ten contiguous households.* They 
are flexible chance associations, the members of which 
manifest a vivid hostility towards their contemporaries 
in neighbouring villages and sometimes towards other 
gangs within their own village. Blood ties cut across 
these neighbourhood alignments so that a child may be 
on good terms with members of two or three different 
groups. A strange child from another group, provided 
she came alone, could usually take refuge beside a rela- 
tive. But the little girls of Siufaga looked askance at 
the little girls of Luma, the nearest village and both 
lool^d with even greater suspicion at the little girls 
from Faleasao, who lived twenty minutes' walk away. 
However, heart burnings over these divisions were very 
temporary affairs. When Tua's brother was ill, her 
entire family moved from the far end of Siufaga into 
the heart of Luma. For a few days Tua hung rather 
dolefully about the house, only to be taken in within 
a week by the central Luma children with complete 
amiability. But when she returned some weeks later 
J ': to Siufaga, she became again "a Siufaga girl," object 
elect of institutionalised scorn and gibes to her recent 

*See Neighbourhood Maps. Appendix I, page 251. 




No_very intense friendships are made at this age."^ J^ 
The relationship and neighbourhood structure of the (^ 
group overshadows the personalities within it. Also \/ 
the most intense affection is always reserved for near 
relatives and pairs of little sisters take the place of 
chums. The Western comment, "Yes, Mary and Julia 
are such good friends as well as sisters!" becomes in 
Samoa, "But she is a relative," if a friendship is com- 
mented upon. The older ones fend for the younger, 
give them their spoils, weave them flower necklaces and 
give them their most treasured shells. This relation- 
ship aspect is the only permanent element in the group 
and even this is threatened by any change of residence. 
The emotional tone attached to the inhabitants of a 
strange village tends to make even a well-known cousin 
seem a little strange. 

Of the different groups of little girls there was only 
one which shov/ed characteristics which would make it 
possible to classify it as a gang. An accident of resi- 
dence accounts for the most intense group development 
being in the centre of Luma, where nine little girls of 
nearly the same age and with abundant relationship ties 
lived close together. The development of a group '^ . 
which played continually together and maintained a 
fairly coherent hostility towards outsiders, seems to be I 
more of a function of residence than of the personality 
of any child particularly endowed with powers of lead- 
ership. The nine little girls in this group were less 
shy, less suspicious, more generous towards one another, 



more socially enterprising than other children of the 
same age and in general reflected the socialising effects 
of group life. Outside this group, the children of this 
age had to rely much more upon their immediate re- 
lationship group reinforced perhaps by the addition of 
one or two neighbours. Where the personality of a 
child stood out it was more because of exceptional home 
environment than a result of social give-and-take with 
children of her own age. 

Children of this age had no group activities ex- 
/ J cept play, in direct antithesis to the home life where 

' the child's only^ function was work — ^baby-tending and 
the performance of numerous trivial tasks and innu- 
merable errands. They foregathered in the early eve- 
ning, before the late Samoan supper, and occasionally 
during the general siesta hour in the afternoon. On 
moonlight nights they scoured the villages alternately 
attacking or fleeing from the gangs of small boys, peek- 
ing through drawn shutters, catching land crabs, am- 
bushing wandering lovers, or sneaking up to watch a 
birth or a miscarriage in some distant house. Possessed 
by a fear of the chiefs, a fear of small boys, a fear 
of their relatives and by a fear of ghosts, no gang of 
less than four or five dared to venture forth on these 
nocturnal excursions. They were veritable groups of 
little outlaws escaping from the exactions of routine 

/tasks. Because of the strong feeling for relationship 

j/ //and locality, the part played by stolen time, the need 

|/ for immediately executed group plans, and the punish- 



ment which hung over the heads of children who got 
too far out of earshot, the Samoan child was as de- 
pendent upon the populousness of her immediate lo-^- 
cality, as is the child in a rural community in the West, 
True her isolation here was never one-eighth of a mile 
in extent, but glaring sun and burning sands, coupled 
with the number of relatives to be escaped from in the 
day or the number of ghosts to be escaped from at night, 
magnified this distance until as a barrier to companion- 
ship it was equivalent to three or four miles in rural 
America. Thus there occurred the phenomenon of the 
iso lated child in a village full of children of her own 
age. Such was Luna, aged ten, who lived in one of the 
^'scattered houses belonging to a high chief's household. 
This house was situated at the very end of the village 
where she lived with her grandmother, her mother's 
sister Sami, Sami's husband and baby, and two younger 
maternal aunts, aged seventeen and fifteen. Luna's 
mother was dead. Her other brothers and sisters lived 
on another island with her father's people. She was 
ten, but young for 'her age, a quiet, listless child, re- 
luctant to take the initiative, the sort of child who 
would always need an institutionalised group life. Her 
only relatives close by were two girls of fourteen, 
whose long legs and absorption in semi-adult tasks 
made them far too grown-up companions for her. 
Some little girls of fourteen might have tolerated 
Luna about, but not Selu, the younger of the cousins, 
whose fine mat was already three feet under way. In 



the next house, a stone's throw away, lived two little 
girls, Pimi and Vana, aged eight and ten. But they 
were not relatives and being chief baby-tenders to four 
younger children, they had no time for exploring. 
There were no common relatives to bring them to- 
gether and so Luna lived a solitary life, except when 
an enterprising young aunt of eleven came home to 
her mother's house. This aunt, Siva, was a fascinat- 
ing companion, a vivid and precocious child, whom 
Luna followed about in open-mouthed astonishment. 
But Siva had proved too much of a handful for her 
widowed mother, and the mataly her uncle, had taken 
her to live in his immediate household at the other 
end of the village, on the other side of the central 
Luma gang. They formed far more attractive com- 
panions and Siva seldom got as far as her mother's 
house in her occasional moments of freedom. So un- 
enterprising Luna cared for her little cousin, followed 
her aunt and grandmother about and most of the time 
presented a very forlorn appearance. 

In strong contrast was the fate of Lusi, who was only 
seven, too young to be really eligible for the games of 
her ten- and eleven-year-old elders. Had she lived in 
an isolated spot, she would have been merely a neigh- 
bourhood baby. But her house was in a strategic posi- 
tion, next door to that of her cousins, Maliu and Pola, 
important members of the Luma gang. Maliu, one of 
the oldest members of the group, had a tremendous 
feeling for all her young relatives, and Lusi was her 


r / 

first cousin. So tiny, immature Lusi had the full 
benefit of a group life denied to Luna. 

At the extreme end of Siufaga lived Vina, a gentle, 
unassuming girl of fourteen. Her father's house stood 
all alone in the centre of a grove of palm trees, just 
out of sight and ear-shot of the nearest neighbour. 
Her only companions were her first cousin, a reserved 
capable eighteen-year-old and two cousins of seventeen 
and nineteen. There was one little cousin of twelve 
also in the neighbourhood, but five younger brothers 
and sisters kept her busy. Vina also had several broth- 
ers and sisters younger than herself, but they were old 
enough to fend for themselves and Vina was compara- 
tively free to follow the older girls on fishing expedi- 
tions. So she never escaped from being the little girl, 
tagging after older ones, carrying their loads and run- 
ning their errands. She was a flurried anxious child, 
overconcerned with pleasing others, docile in her 
chance encounters with contemporaries from long habit 
of docility. A free give-and-take relationship within 
her own age group had been denied to her and was now 
denied to her forever. For it was only to the eight- 
to twelve-year-old girl that this casual group associa- •' 
tion was possible. As puberty approached, and a girl 
gained physical strength and added skill, her household 
absorbed her again. She must make the oven, she must 
go to work on the plantation, she must fish. Her days 
were filled with long tasks and new responsibilities. 

Such a child was Fitu. In September she was one 



of the dominant members of the gang, a little taller 
than the rest, a little lankier, more strident and execu- 
tive, but very much a harum-scarum little girl among 
little girls, with a great baby always on her hip. But 
by April she had turned the baby over to a younger 
sister of ninej the still younger baby was entrusted to 
a little sister of five and Fitu worked with her mother 
on the plantations, or went on long expeditions after 
hibiscus bark, or for fish. She took the family washing 
to the sea and helped make the oven on cooking days. 
Occasionally in the evening she slipped away to play 
games on the green with her former companions but 
usually she was too tired from the heavy unaccustomed 
work, and also a slight strangeness had crept over her. 
She felt that her more adult activities set her off from 
the rest of the group with whom she had felt so much 
at home the fall before. She made only abortive at- 
tempts to associate with the older girls in the neigh- 
bourhood. Her mother sent her to sleep in the pas- 
tor's house next door, but she returned home after 
three days. Those girls were all too old, she said. 
"Laititi aV ("I am but young"). And yet she was 
spoiled for her old group. The three villages num- 
bered fourteen such children, just approaching puberty, 
preoccupied by unaccustomed tasks and renewed and 
closer association with the adults of their families, not 
yet interested in boys, and so forming no new alliances 
in accordance with sex Interests. Soberly they perform 
their household tasks, select a teacher from the older 



women of their family, learn to bear the suffix, mean- 
ing "little" dropped from the "little girl" which had 
formerly described them. But they never again amal- 
gamate into such free and easy groups as the before- 
the-teens gang. As sixteen- and seventeen-year-old 
girls, they will still rely upon relatives, and the picture 
is groupings of twos or of threes, never more. The' 
neighbourhood feelings drop out and girls of seventeen 
will ignore a near neighbour who is an age mate and 
go the length of the village to visit a relative. Rela- 
tionship and similar sex interests are now the deciding 
factor in friendships. Girls also followed passively 
the stronger allegiance of the boys. If a girPs sweet- 
heart has a chum who is interested in a cousin of hers, 
the girls strike up a lively, but temporary, friendship. 
Occasionally such friendships even go outside of the 
relationship group. 

Although girls may confide only in one or two girl 
relatives, their sex status is usually sensed by the^jotlier 
women of the village and alliances shift and change . , 
on this basis, from the shy adolescent who is suspicious [ 
of all older girls, to the girl whose first or second love 
affair still looms as very important, to the girls who 
are beginning to centre all their attention upon one 
boy and possibly matrimony. Finally the unmarried ~" 
mother selects her friends, when possible, from those 
in like case with herself, or from women of ambiguous 
marital position, deserted or discredited young wives. 

Very few friendships of younger for older girls cut 



across these groupings after puberty. The twelve- 
year-old may have a great affection and admiration for 
her sixteen-year-old cousin (although any of these 
enthusiasms for older girls are pallid matters com- 
pared to a typical school girl "crush" in our civilisa- 
tion). But when she is fifteen and her cousin nine- 
teen, the picture changes. All of the adult and near- 
V adult world is hostile, spying upon her love affairs in 
I Its more circumspect sophistication, supremely not to be 
trusted. No one is to be trusted who is not immedi- 
ately engaged in similarly hazardous adventures. 

It may safely be said that without the artificial con- 
ditions produced by residence in the native pastor's 
household or in the large missionary boarding school, 
the girls do not go outside their relationship group to 
make friends. (In addition to the large girls' boarding 
school which served all of American Samoa, the native 
pastor of each community maintained a small informal 
boarding school for boys and girls. To these schools 
were sent the girls whose fathers wished to send them 
later to the large boarding school, and also girls whose 
parents wished them to have three or four years of the 
superior educational advantages and stricter supervision 
of the pastor's home.) Here unrelated girls live side 
by side sometimes for years. But as one of the two 
defining features of a household is common residence, 
the friendships formed between girls who have lived 
in the pastor's household are not very different psy- 
chologically from the friendship of cousins or girls 



connected only by affinity who live in the same family. 
The only friendships which really are different in kind 
from those formed by common residence or member- 
ship in the same relationship group, are the institution- 
alised relationships between the wives of chiefs and the 
wives of talking chiefs. But these friendships can only 
be understood in connection with the friendships among 
boys and men. 

The little boys follow the same pattern as do thes. 
I little girls, running in a gang based upon the double ■' ^ 
"bonds of neighbourhood and relationship. The feel- Y 
ing for the ascendency of age is always much stronger j^ 
than in the case of girls because the older boys do notA 
withdraw into their family groups as do the gi^lf(' The 
fifteen- and sixteen-year-old boys gang together with 
the same freedom as do the twelve-year-olds. The bor- 
derline between small boys and bigger boys is therefore 
a continually shifting one, the boys in an intermediate 
position now lording it over the younger boys, now 
tagging obsequiously in the wake of their elders. 
There are two institutionalised relationships between 
boys which are called by the same name and possibly 
were at one time one relationship. This is the soay the 
companion at circumcision and the ambassador in love y/ 
afFairs. Boys are circumcised in pairs, making the ar- 
rangements themselves and seeking out an older man 
who has acquired a reputation for skilfulness. There 
seems to be here simply a logical inter-relationship of 
cause and effect j a boy chooses a friend (who is usu- 



ally also a relative) as his companion and the experience 
shared binds them closer together. There were sev- 
eral pairs of boys in the village who had been circum- 
cised together and were still inseparable companions, 
often sleeping together in the house of one of them. 
\ Casual homosexual practices occurred in such relation- 

'^ I ships. However, when the friendships of grown boys 
of the village were analysed, no close correspondence 
with the adolescent allegiance was found and older boys 

^ were as often found in groups of three or four as in 

y pairs. 

^ /" ' When a boy is two or three years past puberty, his 

I I choice of a companion is influenced by the convention 
■. that a young man seldom speaks for himself in love 
' and never in a proposal of marriage. He accordingly 
'; needs a friend of about his age whom he can trust to 
sing his praises and press his suit with requisite fervour 
^\ and discretion. For this office, a relative, or, if the 
affair be desperate, several relatives are employed. A 
youth is influenced in his choice by his need of an am- 
bassador who is not only trustworthy and devoted but 
plausible and insinuating as a procurer. This soa re- 
lationship is often, but not necessarily, reciprocal. The 
expert in love comes in time to dispense with the serv- 
ices of an intermediary, wishing to taste to the full the 
sweets of all the stages in courtship. At the same time 
his services are much in demand by others, if they 
entertain any hope at all of his dealing honourably by 
his principal. 



But the boys have also other matters besides love- 
making in which they must co-operate. Three are 
needed to man a bonito canoe ; two usually go together 
to lasso eels on the reef j work on the communal taro 
plantations demands the labour of all the youths in the 
village. So that while a boy too chooses his best friends 
from among his relatives, his sense of social solidarity 
is always much stronger than that of a girl. The 
Aualuma, the organisation of young girls and wives of 
untitled men, is an exceedingly loose association gath- 
ered for very occasional communal work, and still more 
occasional festivities. In villages where the old intri- 
cacies of the social organisation are beginning to fall 
into disuse, it is the Aualmita which disappears first, 
while the Aumaga, the young men's organisation, has 
too important a place in the village economy to be thus 
ignored. The Aumaga is indeed the most enduring 
social factor in the village. The matais meet more 
formally and spend a great deal of time in their own 
households, but the young men work together during 
the day, feast before and after their labours, are present 
as a serving group at all meetings of the matais, and 
when the day's work is over, dance and go courting to- 
gether in the evening. Many of the young men sleep 
in their friends' houses, a privilege but grudgingly 
accorded the more chaperoned girls. 

Another factor which qualified men's relationships is 
the reciprocal relationship between chiefs and talking 
chiefs. The holders of these two classes of titles are 



not necessarily related, although this is often the case 
as it is considered an advantage to be related to both 
ranks. But the talking chiefs are major domos, assist- 
ants, ambassadors, henchmen, and councillors of their 
chiefs, and these relationships are often foreshadowed 
among the young men, the heirs-apparent or the heirs 
aspirant to the family titles. 

Among women there are occasional close alliances 
between the taufo and the daughter of her father's 
principal talking chief. But these friendships always 
suffer from their temporary character j the taufo will 
inevitably marry into another village. And it is rather 
between the wife of the chief and the wife of a talking 
chief that the institutionalised and life-long friend- 
ship exists. The wife of the talking chief acts as 
assistant, advisor, and mouthpiece for the chief's wife 
and in turn counts upon the chief's wife for support 
^and material help. It is a friendship based upon re- 
ciprocal obligations having their origins ia the relation- 
ship between the women's husbands, and it is the only 
women's friendship which oversteps the limits of 
the relationship and affinity group. Such friendships 
based on an accident of marriage and enjoined by the 
social structure should hardly be classed as voluntary. 
And within the relationship group itself, friendship is 
so patterned as to be meaningless. I once asked a young 
married woman if a neighbour with whom she was 
always upon the most uncertain and irritated terms was 
a friend of hers. "Why, of course, her mother's father's 



father, and my father's mother's father were brothers." 
Friendship based on temperamental congeniality was 
a most tenuous bond, subject to shifts of interest and 
to shifts of residence, and a woman came to rely more 
and more on the associates to whose society and interest 
■blood and marriage entitled her. 

Association based upon age as a principle may be said', 
to have ceased for the girls before puberty, due to the 
exceedingly individual nature of their tasks and th« 
need for secrecy in their amatory adventures. In the 
case of the boys, greater freedom, a more compelling' 
social structure, and continuous participation in co-op- 
erative tasks, brings about an age-group associatioii 
which lasts through life. This grouping is influenced' 
but not determined by relationship, and distorted by 
the influence of rank, prospective rank in the case of 
youth, equal rank but disproportionate age in the case 
of older men. 




THE community ignores both boys and girls from 
birth until they are fifteen or sixteen years of age. 
Children under this age have no social standing, no 
recognised group activities, no part in the social life 
except when they are conscripted for the informal 
dance floor. But at a year or two beyond puberty — 
the age varies from village to village so that boys of 
sixteen will in one place still be classed as small boys, 
in another as taule^ale^asy young men — ^both boys and 
girls are grouped into a rough approximation of the 
adult groupings, given a name for their organisation, 
and are invested with definite obligations and privi- 
leges in the community life. 

The organisation of young men, the Aumaga,' of 
young girls and the wives of untitled men and widows, 
the Aualumay and of the wives of titled men, are all 
echoes of the central political structure of the village, 
the FonOy the organisation of mataisy men who have 
the titles of chiefs or of talking chiefs. The Fono is 
always conceived as a round house in which each title 
has a special position, must be addressed with certain 
ceremonial phrases, and given a fixed place in the order 
of precedence in the serving of the kava. This ideal 
house has certain fixed divisions, in the right sector sit 
the high chief and his special assistant chiefs j in the 



front of the house sit the talking chiefs whose business 
it is to make the speeches, welcome strangers, accept 
gifts, preside over the distribution of food and make all 
plans and arrangements for group activities. Against 
the posts at the back of the house sit the matah of low 
rank, and between the posts and at the centre sit those 
of so little importance that no place is reserved for 
them. This framework of titles continues from gen-, 
eration to generation and holds a fixed place in the 
larger ideal structure of the titles of the whole island, 
the whole archipelago, the whole of Samoa. With 
some of these titles, which are in the gift of certain 
families, go certain privileges, a right to a house name, 
a right to confer a taufo name, a princess title, upon 
some young girl relative and an heir-apparent title, the 
manaiaj on some boy of the household. Besides these 
prerogatives of the high chiefs, each member of the 
two classes of fnalais, chiefs and talking chiefs, has 
certain ceremonial rights. A talking chief must be 
served his kava with a special gesture, must be ad- 
dressed with a separate set of verbs and nouns suitable 
to his rank, must be rewarded by the chiefs in tapa or 
fine mats for his ceromonially rendered services. The 
■ chiefs must be addressed with still another set of nouns 
and verbs, must be served with a different and more 
honourable gesture in the kava ceremony, must be 
furnished with food by their talking chiefs, must be 
honoured and escorted by the talking chiefs on every 
important occasion. The name of the village, the cere- 
monial name of the public square in which great cere- 



monies are held, the name of the meeting house of the 
FonOy the names of the principal chiefs and talking 
chiefs, the names of taupo and manaia, of the Aualuma 
and the Aumaga, are contained in a set of ceremonial 
salutations called the Fa'alupega, or courtesy titles of 
a village or district. Visitors on formally entering a 
village must recite the Fa'alupega as their initial cour- 
tesy to their hosts. 

The Aumaga mirrors this organisation of the older 
men. Here the young men learn to make speeches, to 
conduct themselves with gravity and decorum, to serve 
and drink the kava, to plan and execute group enter- 
prises. When a boy is old enough to enter the Aumaga y 
the head of his household either sends a present of 
food to the group, announcing the addition of the boy 
to their number, or takes him to a house where they 
are meeting and lays down a great kava root as a pres- 
ent. Henceforth the boy is a member of a group 
which is almost constantly together. Upon them falls 
all the heavy work of the village and also the greater 
part of the social intercourse between villages which 
centres about the young unmarried people. When a 
visiting village comes, it is the Aumaga which calls in 
a body upon the visiting taufOy taking gifts, dancing 
and singing for her benefit. 

The organisation of the Aualuma is a less formalised 
version of the Aumaga. When a girl is of age, two or 
three years past puberty, varying with the village prac- 
tice, her fnatai will send an offering of food to the 
house of the chief taufo of the village, thus announc- 



Ing that he wishes the daughter of his house to be 
henceforth counted as one of the group of young girls 
who form her court. But while the Aumaga is cen- 
tred about the FonOy the young men meeting outside 
or in a separate house, but exactly mirroring the forms 
and ceremonies of their elders, the ^u a luma is centred 
about the person of the tawpOy forming a group of y 
maids of honour. They have no organisation as have 
the Aumaga y and furthermore, they do hardly any 
work. Occasionally the young girls may be called 
upon to sew thatch or gather paper mulberry j more 
occasionally they plant and cultivate a paper mulberry 
crop, but their main function is to be ceremonial help- 
ers for the meetings of the wives of mataisy and vil- 
lage hostesses in inter-village life. In many parts of 
Samoa the Aualuma has fallen entirely to pieces and 
is only remembered in the greeting words that fall 
from the lips of a stranger. But if the Aumaga should 
disappear, Samoan village life would have to be en- 
tirely reorganised, for upon the ceremonial and actual 
work of the young and untitled men the whole life of "- v- 
the village depends. 

Although the wives of matais have no organisation 
recognised in the Fa'alupaga (courtesy titles), their 
association is firmer and more important than that of 
the Aualuma. The wives of titled men hold their 
own formal meetings, taking their status from their 
husbands, sitting at their husbands' posts and drinking 
their husbands' kava. The wife of the highest chief 
receives highest honour, the wife of the principal talk- 



ing chief makes the most Important speeches. The 
women are completely dependent upon their husbands 
for their status in this village group. Once a man has 
been given a title, he can never go back to the Aumaga. 
His title may be taken away from him when he is old, 
or if he is inefficient, but a lower title will be given him 
that he may sit and drink his kava with his former 
associates. But the widow or divorced wife of a matai 
must go back into the Aualuma, sit with the young girls 
outside the house, serve the food and run the errands, 
entering the women's fono only as a servant or an 
entertainer. ^,,-^-~~^ 

The womei-p fonos^^are of two sorts: fonos which 
precede or fdllbw-eommunal work, sewing the thatch 
for a guest house, bringing the coral rubble for its floor 
or weaving fine mats for the dowry of the taupo; and 
ceremonial fonos to welcome visitors from another vil- 
lage. Each of these meetings was designated by its 
purpose, as a falelalagUy a weaving bee, or an 'aiga 
fiafia tama'ita'iy ladles' feast. **rhe women are only 
recognised socially by the women of a visiting village 
but the tau-po andTier court are the centre of the rec- 
ognition of both men and women In the malaga, the 
travelTing. party. And these wives of high chiefs have 
to treat their own tawpo with great courtesy and respect, 
address her as "your highness," accompany her on 
journeys, use a separate set of nouns and verbs when 
speaking to her. Here then is a discrepancy in which 
the young girls who are kept in strict subjection within 
their households, outrank their aunts and mothers in 



the social life between villages. This ceremonial un- 
dercutting of the older women's authority might seri- 
ously jeopardise the discipline of the household, if it 
were not for two considerations. The first is the tenu- 
ousness of the girls' organisation, the fact that within 
the village their chief raison (Tetre is to dance attend- 
ance upon the older women, who have definite indus- 
trial tasks to perform for the village j the second is the 
emphasis upon the idea of service as the chief duty of 
the tawpo. The village princess is also the village 
servant. It is she who waits upon strangers, spreads 
their beds and makes their kava, dances when they wish 
it, and rises from her sleep to serve either the visitors 
or her own chief. And she is compelled to serve the 
social needs of the women as well as the men. Do they 
decide to borrow thatch in another village, they dress 
their tawpo in her best and take her along to decorate 
the fnalaga. Her marriage is a village matter, planned 
and carried through by the talking chiefs and their 
wives who are her counsellors and chaperons. So that 
the rank of the taupo is really a further daily inroad 
upon her freedom as an individual, while the incessant 
chaperonage to which she is subjected and the way in 
which she is married without regard to her own wishes 
are a. complete denial of her personality. And simi- 
larly, the slighter prestige of her untitled sisters, whose 
chief group activity is waitmg upon their elders, has 
even less real significance in the daily life of the vil- 

With the exception of the tawpo y the assumption of 



whose title is the occasion of a great festival and enor- 
mous distribution of property by her chief to the talk- 
ing chiefs who must hereafter support and confirm her 
rank, a Samoan girl of good family has two ways of 
making her debut. The first, the formal entry into the 
Aualuma is often neglected and is more a formal fee 
to the community than a recognition of the girl herself. 
The second way is to go upon a malaga, a formal trav- 
elling party. She may go as a near relative of the 
taufo in which case she will be caught up in a whirl of 
entertainment with which the young men of the host 
village surround their guests; or she may travel as the 
only girl in a small travelling party in which case she 
will be treated as a taupo, (All social occasions demand 
the presence of a taufOy a manalay and a talking chief j 
and if individuals actually holding these titles are not 
present, some one else has to play the role.) Thus it 
is in inter-village life, either as a member of the 
Aualuma who call upon and dance for the manaia of 
the visiting malaga^ or as a visiting girl in a strange 
village, that the unmarried Samoan girl is honoured 
and recognised by her community. 

But these are exceptional occasions. A malaga may 
come only once a year, especially in Manu'a which 
numbers only seven villages in the whole archipelago. 
And in the daily life of the village, at crises, births, 
deaths, marriages, the unmarried girls have no cere- 
monial part to play. They are simply included with 
the "women of the household" whose duty it is to pre- 
pare the layette for the new baby, or carry stones to 



strew on the new grave. It is almost as if the com- 
munity by its excessive recognition of the girl as a 
taupo or member of the Aualumay considered itself 
exonerated from paying any more attention to her. 

This attitude is fostered by the scarcity of taboos. 
In many parts of Polynesia, all women, and especially 
menstruating women, are considered contaminating and 
dangerous. A continuous rigorous social supervision is 
necessary, for a society can no more afford to ignore its 
most dangerous members than it can afford to neglect 
its most valuable. But in Samoa a girl's power of doing \ 
harm is very limited. She cannot make tafoloy a bread- r 
fruit pudding usually made by the young men in any 
case, nor make the kava while she is menstruating. But 
she need retire to no special house j she need not eat 
alone J there is no contamination in her touch or look. 
In common with the young men and the older women, 
a girl gives a wide berth to a place where chiefs are en- 
gaged in formal work, unless she has special business 
there. It is not the presence of a woman which is inter- 
dicted but the uncalled-for intrusion of any one of 
either sex. No woman can be officially present at a 
gathering of chiefs unless she is tau-po making the kava, 
but any woman may bring her husband his pipe or come 
to deliver a message, so long as her presence need not 
be recognised. The only place where a woman's femi- 
ninity is in itself a real source of danger is in the matter 
of fishing canoes and fishing tackle which she is for- 
bidden to touch upon pain of spoiling the fishing. But 
the enforcement of this prohibition is in the hands of 

- [8i] 


individual fishermen in whose houses the fishing equip- 
ment is kept. 

Within the relationship group matters are entirely 
different. Here women are very specifically recog- 
nised. The oldest female progenitor of the line, that 
is, the sister of the last holder of the title, or his 
predecessor's sister, has special rights over the distri- 
bution of the dowry which comes into the household. 
She holds the veto in the selling of land and other im- 
portant family matters. Her curse is the most dread- 
ful a man can incur for she has the power to "cut the 
line" and make the name extinct. If a man falls ill, 
it is his sister who must first take the formal oath that 
she has wished him no harm, as anger in her heart is 
most potent for evil. When a man dies, it is his pa- 
ternal aunt or his sister who prepares the body for 
burial, anointing it with turmeric and rubbing it with 
oil, and it is she who sits beside the body, fanning away 
the flies, and keeps the fan in her possession ever after. 
And, in the more ordinary affairs of the household, in 
the economic arrangements-betwccn-t^eiat-iv^y in dis- 
putes over propert y or in f amily feuds, the women play 
as^active a part as the men. 

The girl and woman repays the general social negli- 
gence which she receives with a corresponding insou- 
ciance. She treats the lore of the village, the gene- 
alogies of the titles, tke origin myths and local tales, 
the intricacies of the social organisation with supreme 
indifference. It is an exceptional girl who can give her 
great-grandfather's name, the exceptional boy who can- 



not give his genealogy in traditional form for several 
generations. While the boy of sixteen or seventeen is 
eagerly trying to master the esoteric allusiveness of the 
talking chief whose style he most admires, the girl of 
the same age learns the minimum of etiquette. Yet 
this is in no wise due to lack of ability. The tatipo must 
have a meticulous knowledge, not only of the social 
arrangements of her own village, but also of those of 
neighbouring villages. She must serve visitors in proper 
form and with no hesitation after the talking chief has 
chanted their titles and the names of their kava cups. 
Should she take the wrong post which is the preroga- 
tive of another taufo who outranks her, her hair will 
be soundly pulled by her rival's female attendants. 
She learns the intricacies of the social organisation as 
well as her brother does. Still more notable is the case 
of the wife of a talking chief. Whether she is chosen 
for her docility by a man who has already assumed his 
title, or whether, as is often the case, she marries some 
boy of her acquaintance who later is made a talking 
chief, the tausiy wife of a talking chief, is quite equal 
to the occasion. In the meetings of women she must 
be a master of etiquette and the native rules of order, 
she must interlard her speeches with a wealth of unin- 
telligible traditional material and rich allusiveness, she 
must preserve the same even voice, the same lofty de- 
meanour, as her husband. And ultimately, the wife of 
an important talking chief must qualify as a teacher as 
well as a performer, for it is her duty to train the taufo. 
But unless the community thus recognises her existence, 



and makes formal demand upon her time and ability, 
a woman gives to it a bare minimum of her attention. 

In like manner, women are not dealt with in the. 
primitive penal code. A man who commits adultery 
with a chief's wife was beaten and banished, sometimes 
even drowned by the outraged community, but the 
woman was only cast out by her husband. The taufo 
who was found not to be a virgin was simply beaten by 
her female relatives. To-day if evil befalls the village, 
and it is attributed to some unconfessed sin on the part 
of a member of the community, the Fono and the 
Aumaga are convened and confession is enjoined upon 
any one who may have evil upon his conscience, but no 
such demand is made upon the Aualuma or the wives 
of the matals. This is in striking contrast to the family 
confessional where the sister is called upon first. 

In matters of work the village makes a few precise 
demands. It is the women's work to cultivate the 
sugar cane and~sew tlie""thatcE f or WeTooFoT'the giiest 
IlDiise^^to weave the palm leaf blinds, and bring the 
coral_rubble for tIie"~ffoof. When the girls "have 1a 
paper mulberry plantation, the Aumaga occasionally 
help them in the work, the girls in turn making a feast 
for the boys, turning the whole affair into an indus- 
^>— trious picnic. But between men's formal work and 
women's formal work there is a rigid division. Women 
do not enter into house-building or boat-building ac- 
tivities, nor go out in fishing canoes, nor may men enter 
the formal weaving house or the house where women 
are making tapa in a group. If the women's work 



makes it necessary for them to cross the village, as is 
the case when rubble is brough: up from the seashore 
to make the floor of the guest house, the men entirely 
disappear, either gathering in some remote house, or 
going away to the bush or to another village. But this 
avoidance is only for large formal occasions. If her 
husband is building the family a new cook-house, a 
woman may make tapa two feet away, while a chief 
may sit and placidly braid cinet while his wife weaves 
a fine mat at his elbow. 

So, although unlike her husband and brothers a n 
woman spends most of her time within the narrower :\ 
circle of her household and her relationship group, 
when she does participate in community affairs she is 
treated with the punctilio which marks all phases of 
Samoan social life. The better part of her attention 
and interest is focused on a smaller group, cast in a 
more personal mode. For this reason, it is impossible 
to evaluate accurately the difference in innate social 
drive between men and women in Samoa. In those-i 
social spheres where women have been given an oppor- I 
tunity, they take their place with as much ability as the I 
men. The wives of the talking chiefs in fact exhibit | 
even greater adaptability than their husbands. The 
talking chiefs are especially chosen for their oratorical 
and intellectual abilities, whereas the women have a 
task thrust upon them at their marriage requiring great 
oratorical skill, a fertile imagination, tact, and a facile 




THE first attitude which a little girl learns towards 
boys is one of avoidance and antagonism. She learns 
to observe the brother and sister taboo towards the boys 
of her relationship group and household, and together 
v/ith the other small girls of her age group she treats 
all other small boys as enemies elect. After a little 
girl is eight or nine years of age she has learned never 
to approach a group of older boys. This feeling of 
antagonism towards younger boys and shamed avoid- 
ance of older ones continues up to the age of thirteen 
or fourteen, to the group of girls who are just reach- 
ing puberty and the group of boys who have just been 
circumcised. These children are growing away from 
the age-group life and the age-group antagonisms. 
They are not yet actively sex-eonscious. And it is at 
this time that relationships between the sexes are least 
emotionally charged. Not until she is an old married 
woman with several children will the Samoan girl 
again regard the opposite sex so quietly. When these 
adolescent children gather together there is a good- 
natured banter, a minimum of embarrassment, a great 
deal of random teasing which usually takes the form 
of accusing some little girl of a consuming passion for 



a decrepit old man of eighty, or some small boy of 
being the father of a buxom matron's eighth child. 
Occasionally the banter takes the form of attributing 
affection between two age mates and is gaily and indig- 
nantly repudiated by both. Children at this age meet 
at informal siva parties, on the outskirts of more for- 
mal occasions, at community reef fishings (when many 
yards of reef have been enclosed to make a great fish 
trap) and on torch-fishing excursions. Good-natured 
tussling and banter and co-operation in common activi- 
ties are the keynotes of these occasions. But unfortu- 
nately these contacts are neither frequent nor suffi- 
ciently prolonged to teach the girls co-operation or to 
give either boys or girls any real appreciation of per- 
sonality in members of the opposite sex. 

Two or three years later this will all be changed. 
The fact that little girls no longer belong to age groups 
makes the individual's defection less noticeable. The 
boy who begins to take an active interest in girls is also 
seen less in a gang and spends more time with one close 
companion. Girls have lost all of their nonchalance. 
They giggle, blush, bridle, run away. Boys become 
shy, embarrassed, taciturn, and avoid the society of 
girls in the daytime and on the brilliant moonlit nights 
for which they accuse the girls of having an exhibition- 
istic preference. Friendships fall more strictly within 
the relationship group. The boy's need for a trusted 
confidante is stronger than that of the girl, for only the 
most adroit and hardened Don Juans do their own 



courting. There are occasions, of course, when two 
youngsters just past adolescence, fearful of ridicule, 
even from their nearest friends and relatives, will slip 
away alone into the bush. More frequently still an 
older man, a widower or a divorced man, will be a 
girl's first lover. And here there is no need for an 
ambassador. The older man is neither shy nor fright- 
ened, and furthermore there is no one whom he can 
trust as an intermediary; a younger man would betray 
hjm, an older man would not take his amours seriously, 
j But the first spontaneous experiment of adolescent chil- 
/ dren and the amorous excursions of the older men 
among the young girls of the village are variants on 
the edge of the recognised types of relationships j so 
also is the first experience of a young boy with an older 
woman. But both of these are exceedingly frequent 
occurrences, so that the success of an amatory experience 
is seldom jeopardised by double ignorance. Neverthe- 
less, all of these occasions are outside the recognised 
forms into which sex relations fall. The little boy and 
girl are branded by their companions as guilty of 
tautala lai t'ltl (presuming above their ages) as is 
the boy who loves or aspires to love an older woman, 
while the idea of an older man pursuing a young girl 
appeals strongly to their sense of humour j or if the 
girl is very young and naive, to their sense of unfit- 
ness. "She is too young, too young yet. He is too 
old," they will say, and the whole weight of vigorous 
disapproval fell upon a matal who was known to be 



the father of the child of Lotu, the sixteen-year-old 
feeble-minded girl on Olesega. Discrepancy in age or 
experience always strikes them as comic or pathetic ac- 
cording to the degree. The theoretical punishment 
which is meted out to a disobedient and runaway 
daughter is to marry her to a very old man, and I 
have heard a nine-year-old giggle contemptuously over 
her mother's preference for a seventeen-year-old boy. 
Worst among these unpatterned deviations is that of 
the man who makes love to some young and dependent 
woman of his household, his adopted child or his wife's 
younger sister. The cry of incest is raised against him 
and sometimes feeling runs so high that he has to leave 
the group. 

Besides formal marriage there are only two types 
of sex relations which receive any formal recognition 
from the community^love affairs between unmarried 
young people (this includes the widowed) who are very 
nearly of the same age, whether leading to marriage or 
merely a passing diversion j and adultery. 

Between the unmarried there are three forms of 
relationship: the clandestine encounter, "under the 
palm trees," the published elopement, Avaga, and the ^ 
ceremonious courtship in which the boy "sits before the 
girl"} and on the edge of these, the curious form of 
surreptitious rape, called nioetotoloy sleep crawling, re- 
sorted to by youths who find favour in no maiden's 

In these three relationships, the boy requires a con- 




fidant and ambassador whom he calls a soa. Where 
boys are close companions, this relationship may extend 
over many love affairs, or it may be a temporary one, 
terminating with the particular love affair. The soa 
follows the pattern of the talking chief who makes 
material demands upon his chief in return for the im- 
material services which he renders him. If marriage 
results from his ambassadorship, he receives a specially 
fine present from the bridegroom. The choice of a 
soa presents many difficulties. If the lover chooses a 
steady, reliable boy, some slightly younger relative de- 
voted to his interests, a boy unambitious in affairs of 
the heart, very likely the ambassador will bungle the 
whole affair through inexperience and lack of tact. But 
if he chooses a handsome and expert wooer who knows 
just how "to speak softly and walk gently," then as 
likely as not the girl will prefer the second to the 
principal. This difficulty is occasionally anticipated by 
employing two or three soas and setting them to spy 
on each other. But such a lack of trust is likely to in- 
spire a similar attitude in the agents, and as one over- 
cautious and disappointed lover told me ruefully, "I 
had five soasy one was true and four were false." 

Among possible soas there are two preferences, a 
brother or a girl. . A brother is by definition loyal, 
while a girl is far more skilful for "a boy can only 
approach a girl in the evening, or when no one is by, 
but a girl can go with her all day long, walk with her 
and lie on the mat by her, eat off the same platter, and 



whisper between mouthfuls the name of the boy, speak- 
ing ever of him, how good he is, how gentle and how 
true, how worthy of love. Yes, best of all is the 
soafafiney the woman ambassador." But the difficulties 
of obtaining a soafafine are great. A boy may not^ 
choose from his own female relatives. The taboo for- 
bids him ever to mention such matters in their pres- 
ence. It is only by good chance that his brother's 
sweetheart may be a relative of the girl upon whom 
he has set his heart j or some other piece of good for- 
tune may throw him into contact with a girl or woman 
who will act in his interests. The most violent antago- 
nisms in the young people's groups are not between ex- 
lovers, arise not from the venom of the deserted nor the 
smarting pride of the jilted, but occur between the boy 
and the soa who has betrayed him, or a lover and the 
friend of his beloved who has in any way blocked his 

In the strictly clandestine love affair the lover never 
presents himself at the house of his beloved. His soa 
may go there in a group or upon some trumped-up 
errand, or he also may avoid the house and find op- 
portunities to speak to the girl while she is fishing or 
going to and from the plantation. It is his task to sing 
his friend's praise, counteract the girl's fears and ob- 
jections, and finally appoint a rendezvous. These af- 
fairs are usually of short duration and both boy and 
girl may be carrying on several at once. One of the 
recognised causes of a quarrel is the resentment of the 



first lover against his successor of the same night, "for 
the boy who came later will mock him." These clan- 
destine lovers make their rendezvous on the outskirts 
of the village. "Under the palm trees" is the conven- 
tionalised designation of this type of intrigue. Very 
often three or four couples will have a common ren- 
dezvous, when either the boys or the girls are relatives 
who are friends. Should the girl ever grow faint or 
dizzy, it is the boy's part to climb the nearest palm and 
fetch down a fresh cocoanut to pour on her face in lieu 
of eau de cologne. In native theory, barrenness is the 
punishment of promiscuity j and, vice versa, only per- 
sistent monogamy is rewarded by conception. When 
a pair of clandestine experimenters whose rank is so 
low that their marriages are not of any great economic 
importance become genuinely attached to each other 
and maintain the relationship over several months, mar- 
riage often follows. And native sophistication distin- 
guishes between the adept lover whose adventures are 
many and of short duration and the less skilled man 
who can find no better proof of his virility than a long 
affair ending in conception. 

Often the girl is afraid to venture out into the night, 
infested with ghosts and devils, ghosts that strangle 
one, ghosts from far-away villages who come in canoes 
to kidnap the girls of the village, ghosts who leap upon 
the back and may not be shaken off. Or she may feel 
that it is wiser to remain at home, and if necessary, 
attest her presence vocally. In this case the lover 



braves the house j taking off his lavalava, he greases 
his body thoroughly with cocoanut oil so that he can 
slip through the fingers of pursuers and leave no trace, 
and stealthily raises the blinds and slips into the house. 
The prevalence of this practice gives point to the fa- 
miliar incident in Polynesian folk tales of the ill for- 
tune that falls the luckless hero who "sleeps until 
morning, until the rising sun reveals his presence to 
the other inmates of the house." As perhaps a dozen 
or more people and several dogs are sleeping in the 
house, a due regard for silence is sufficient precaution. 
But it is this habit of domestic rendezvous which lends . y 
itself to the peculiar abuse of the moetotoloy or sleep 

The moetotolo is the only sex activity which presents 
a definitely abnormal picture. Ever since the first 
contact with white civilisation, rape, in the form of vio- -' 
lent assault, has occurred occasionally in Samoa. It is 
far less congenial, however, to the Samoan attitude 
than moetotoloy in which a man stealthily appropriates 
the favours which are meant for another. The need 
for guarding against discovery makes conversation im- 
possible, and the sleep crawler relies upon the girPs 
expecting a lover or the chance that she will indiscrimi- 
nately accept any comer. If the girl suspects and re- 
sents him, she raises a great outcry and the whole 
household gives chase. fCatching a moetotolo is countedji 
great sport, and the women, who feel their safety en- |^ 
dangered, are even more active in pursuit than the i 



men. One luckless youth in Luma neglected to re- 
move his lavalava. The girl discovered him and her 
sister succeeded in biting a piece out of his lavalava 
before he escaped. This she proudly exhibited the 
next day. As the boy had been too dull to destroy his 
lavalava, the evidence against him was circumstantial 
and he was the laughing stock of the village j the chil- 
dren wrote a dance song about it and sang it after him 
wherever he went. The moetotolo problem is compli- 
cated by the possibility that a boy of the household 
may be the offender and may take refuge in the hue 
and cry following the discovery. It also provides the 
girl with an excellent alibi, since she has only to call 
out "moetotolo^^ in case her lover is discovered. "To 
the family and the village that may be a moetotoloy 
but it is not so in the hearts of the girl and the boy." 
Two. motives a,re given for this unsavoury activity, 
anger and failure in love. The Samoan girl who plays 
the coquette does so at her peril. "She will say, *Yes, 
I will meet you to-night by that old cocoanut tree just 
beside the devilfish stone when the moon goes down.' 
And the boy will wait and wait and wait all night long. 
It will grow very darkj lizards will drop on his head; 
the ghost boats will come into the channel. He will 
be very much afraid. But he will wait there until 
dawn, until his hair is wet with dew and his heart is 
very angry and still she does not come. Then in re- 
venge he will attempt a moetotolo. Especially will he 
do so if he hears that she has met another that night." 



The other set explanation is that a particular boy can- 
not win a sweetheart by any legitimate means, and there 
is no form of prostitution, except guest prostitution in 
Samoa. As some of the boys who were notorious 
7noetotolos were among the most charming and good- 
looking youths of the village, this is a little hard to 
understand. Apparently, these youths, frowned upon 
in one or two tentative courtships, inflamed by the 
loudly proclaimed success of their fellows and the 
taunts against their own inexperience, cast established 
wooing procedure to the winds and attempt a moeto- 
tolo. And once caught, once branded, no girl will ever 
pay any attention to them again. They must wait until 
as older men, with position and title to offer, they can 
choose between some weary and bedraggled wanton or 
the unwilling young daughter of ambitious and selfish 
parents. But years will intervene before this is pos- 
sible, and shut out from the amours in which his com- 
panions are engaging, a boy makes one attempt after 
another, sometimes successfully, sometimes only to be 
caught and beaten, mocked by the village, and always 
digging the pit deeper under his feet. Often par- 
tially satisfactory solutions are relationships with men. 
There was one such pair in the village, a notorious 
tnoetotoloy and a serious-minded youth who wished to 
keep his heart free for political intrigue. The moeto- 
tolo therefore complicates and adds zest to the surrep- 
titious love-making which is conducted at home, while 
the danger of being missed, the undesirability of chance 



encounters abroad, rain and the fear of ghosts, com- 
plicate "love under the palm trees." 
.♦ Between these strictly suh rosa affairs and a final offer 
of marriage there is an intermediate form of courtship 
in which the girl is called upon by the boy. As this is^ 
regarded as a tentative move towards matrimony, both 
relationship groups must be more or less favourably 
inclined towards the union. With his soa at his side 
and provided with a basket of fish, an octopus or so, or a 
chicken, the suitor presents himself at the girPs home 
before the late evening meal. If his gift is accepted, 
it is a sign that the family of the girl are willing for 
him to pay his addresses to her. He is formally wel- 
comed by the mata'ty sits with reverently bowed head 
throughout the evening prayer, and then he and his soa 
stay for supper. But the suitor does not approach his 
beloved. They say: "If you wish to know who is really 
the lover, look then not at the boy who sits by her side, 
looks boldly into her eyes and twists the flowers in her 
necklace around his fingers or steals the hibiscus flower 
from her hair that he may wear it behind his ear. Do 
not think it is he who whispers softly in her ear, or says 
to her, ^Sweetheart, wait for me to-night. After the 
moon has set, I will come to you,' or who teases her by 
saying she has many lovers. Look instead at the boy 
who sits afar off, who sits with bent head and takes no 
part in the joking. And you will see that his eyes are 
always turned softly on the girl. Always he watches 
her and never does he miss a movement of her lips. 



Perhaps she will wink at him, perhaps she will raise her 
eyebrows, perhaps she will make a sign with her hand. 
He must always be wakeful and watching or he will 
miss it." The soa meanwhile pays the girl elaborate 
and ostentatious court and in undertones pleads the 
cause of his friend. After dinner, the centre of the 
house is accorded the young people to play cards, sing 
or merely sit about, exchanging a series of broad 
pleasantries. This type of courtship varies from occa- 
sional calls to daily attendance. The food gift need not 
. ac£aCQj3any...Xach y]sit, but is as essential at the initial 
call as is an introduction in the West. The way of such 
declared lovers is hard. The girl does not wish to 
marry, nor to curtail her amours in deference to a 
definite betrothal. Possibly she may also dislike her 
suitor, while he in turn may be the victim of family 
ambition. Now that the whole village knows him for 
her suitor, the girl gratifies her vanity by avoidance, 
by perverseness. He comes in the evening, she has gone 
to another house j he follows her there, she immediately 
returns home. When such courtship ripens into an 
accepted proposal of marriage, the boy often goes to 
sleep in the house of his intended bride and often the 
union is surreptitiously consummated. vTeremonial mar- 
riage is deferred until such time as the boy's family— ^-^ 
have planted or collected enough food and other prop/ ' 
erty and the girl's family have gotten together a suitable 
dowry of tapa and mats. >J 

In such manner are conducted the love affairs of the 



average young pecrple of the same village, and of the 
plebeian young people of neighbouring villages. From 
this free and easy experimentation, the taufo Is ex- 
cepted. Virginity is a legal requirement for Ker. At 
her marriage, in front of all the people, in a house bril- 
liantly lit, the talking chief of the bridegroom will take 
the tokens of her virginity.* In former days should 
bhe prove not to be a virgin, her female relatives fell 
upon and beat her with stones, disfiguring and some- 
times fatally injuring the girl who had shamed their 
house. The public ordeal sometimes prostrated the girl 
for as much as a week, although ordinarily a girl re- 
covers from first intercourse in two or three hours, and 
women seldom lie abed more than a few hours after 
childbirth. Although this virginity-testing ceremony 
was theoretically observed at weddings of people of all 
ranks, it was simply ignored if the boy knew that it was 
an idle form, and "a wise girl who is not a virgin will 
tell the talking chief of her husband, so that she be 
not shamed before all the people." 

The attitude towards virginity is a curious one. 
Christianity has, of course, introduced a moral premium 
on chastity. The Samoans regard this attitude with 
reverent but complete scepticism and the concept of 
celibacy is absolutely meaningless to them. But vir- 
ginity definitely adds to a girl's attractiveness, the woo- 
ing of a virgin Is considered far more of a feat than 

* This custom is now forbidden by law, but is only gradually 
dying out. 



the conquest of a more experienced heart, and a really 
successful Don Juan turns most of his attention to their 
seduction. One youth who at twenty-four married a 
girl who was still a virgin was the laughing stock of the 
village over his freely related trepidation which re- 
vealed the fact that at twenty-four, although he had 
had many love affairs, he had never before won the 
favours of a virgin. 

The bridegroom, his relatives and the bride and her 
relatives all receive prestige if she proves to be a virgin, 
so that the girl of rank who might wish to forestall this 
painful public ceremony is thwarted not only by the 
anxious chaperonage of her relatives but by the boy's 
eagerness for prestige. One young Lothario eloped 
to his father's house with a girl of high rank from an- 
other village and refused to live with her because, said 
he, "I thought maybe I would marry that girl and 
there would be a big nialaga and a big ceremony and I 
would wait and get the credit for marrying a virgin. 
But the next day her father came and said that she could 
not marry me, and she cried very much. So I said to 
her, *Well, there is no use now to wait any longer. 
Now we will run away into the bush.' " It is con- 
ceivable that the girl would often trade the temporary 
prestige for an escape from the public ordeal, but in 
proportion as his ambitions were honourable^ the boy 
would frustrate her efforts. 

Just as the clandestine and casual "love under the 
palm trees" is the pattern irregularity for those of hum- 



ble birth, so the elopement has its archetype in the love 
affairs of the taufOy and the other chiefs' daughters. 
These girls of noble birth are carefully guarded j not 
for them are secret trysts at night or stolen meetings 
in the day time. Where parents of lower rank com- 
placently ignore their daughters' experiments, the high 
chief guards his daughter's virginity as he guards the 
honour of his name, his precedence in the kava cere- 
mony or any other prerogative of his high degree. 
Some old woman of the household is told off to be 
the girl's constant companion and duenna. The taufo 
may not visit in other houses in the village, or leave 
the house alone at night. When she sleeps, an older 
woman sleeps by her side. Never may she go to an- 
other village unchaperoned. In her own village she 
goes soberly about her tasks, bathing in the sea, work- 
ing in the plantation, safe under the jealous guardian- 
ship of the women of her own village. She runs little 
risk from the moetotolo, for. one who outraged the 
tau-po of his village would formerly have been beaten 
to death, and now would have to flee from the vil- 
lage. The prestige of the village is inextricably bound 
up with the high repute of the taufo and few young 
men in the village would dare to be her lovers. Mar- 
riage to them is out of the question, and their com- 
panions would revile them as traitors rather than envy 
them such doubtful distinction. Occasionally a youth 
of very high rank in the same village will risk an 
elopement, but even this is a rare occurrence. For 



tradition says that the taupo must marry outside her 
village, marry a high chief or a mana'ia of another vil- 
lage. Such a marriage is an occasion for great festivi- 
ties and solemn ceremony. The chief and all of his 
talking chiefs must come to propose for her hand, come 
in person bringing gifts for her talking chiefs. If the 
talking chiefs of the girl are satisfied that this is a 
lucrative and desirable match, and the family are satis- 
fied with the rank and appearance of the suitor, the^ 
marriage is agreed upon. Little attention is paid to the 
opinion of the girl. So fixed is the idea that the mar- 
riage of the taufo is the affair of the talking chiefs that 
Europeanised natives on the main island, refuse to 
make their daughters taufos because the missionaries 
say a girl should make her own choice, and once she is 
a taupOj they regard the matter as inevitably taken out 
of their hands. After the betrothal is agreed upon the 
bridegroom returns to his village to collect food and 
property for the wedding. His village sets aside a 
piece of land which is called the "Place of the Lady" 
and is her property and the property of her children 
forever, and on this land they build a house for the 
bride. Meanwhile, the bridegroom has left behind him 
in the house of the bride, a talking chief, the counter- 
part of the humbler soa. This is one of the talking 
chief's best opportunities to acquire wealth. He stays 
as the emissary of his chief, to watch over his future 
bride. He works for the bride's family and each week 
the matai of the bride must reward him with a hand- 



some present. As an affianced wife of a chief, more and 
more circumspect conduct is enjoined upon the girl. 
Did she formerly joke with the boys of the village, she 
must joke no longer, or the talking chief, on the watch 
for any lapse from high decorum, will go home to his 
chief and report that his bride is unworthy of such hon- 
our. This custom is particularly susceptible to second 
thought on the part of either side. Does the bride- 
groom repent of the bargain, he bribes his talking chief 
(who is usually a young man, not one of the important 
talking chiefs who will benefit greatly by the marriage 
itself) to be oversensitive to the behaviour of the bride 
or the treatment he receives in the bride's family. And 
this is the time in which the bride will elope, if her 
affianced husband is too unacceptable. For while no 
boy of her own village will risk her dangerous favours, 
a boy from another village will enormously enhance 
his prestige if he elopes with the taufo of a rival com- 
munity. Once she has eloped, the projected alliance is 
of course broken off, although her angry parents may 
refuse to sanction her marriage with her lover and 
marry her for punishment to some old man. 

So great is the prestige won by the village, one of 
whose young men succeeds in eloping with a tau-po, that 
often the whole effort of a malaga is concentrated upon 
abducting the taupo, whose virginity will be respected 
in direct ratio to the chances of her family and village 
consenting to ratify the marriage. As the abductor is 



often of high rank, the village often ruefully accepts 
the compromise. 

This elopement pattern, given meaning by the re- 
strictions under which the taupo lives and this inter- 
village rivalry, is carried down to the lower ranks where 
indeed it is practically meaningless. Seldom is the 
chaperonage exercised over the girl of average family 
severe enough to make elopement the only way of con- 
summating a love affair. But the elopement is spec- 
tacular; the boy wishes to increase his reputation as a 
successful Don Juan, and the girl wishes to proclaim 
her conquest and also often hopes that the elopement 
will end in marriage. The eloping pair run away to 
the parents of the boy or to some of his relatives and 
wait for the girl's relatives to pursue her. As one boy 
related the»tale of such an adventure: "We ran away in 
the rain, nine miles to Leone, in the pouring rain, to my 
father's house. The next day her family came to get 
her, and my father said to me, *How is it, do you wish 
to marry this girl, shall I ask her father to leave her ^ 
here?' And I said, *Oh, no. I just eloped with her forJ^pV\ 
public information.' " Elopements are much less fre-' 
quent than the clandestine love affairs because the girl 
takes far more risk. She publicly renounces her often ]? 
nominal claims to virginity; she embroils herself with j, 
her family, who in former times, and occasionally even 
to-day, would beat her soundly and shave off her hair. 
Nine times out of ten, her lover's only motive is vanity 



2jid display, for the boy's say, "The girls hate a moeto- 
toloy but they all love an avaga (eloping) man." 

The elopement also occurs as a practical measure 
when one family is opposed to a marriage upon which 
a pair of young people have determined. The young 
people take refuge with the friendly side of the family. 
But unless the recalcitrant family softens and consents 
to legalise the marriage by a formal exchange of prop- 
erty, the principals can do nothing to establish their 
status. A young couple may have had several children 
and still be classed as "elopers," and if the marriage is 
finally legalised after long delay, this stigma will 
always cling to them. It is far more serious a one than 
a mere accusation of sexual irregularity, for there is a 
definite feeling that the whole community procedure 
has been outraged by a pair of young upstarts. 

Reciprocal gift-giving relations are maintained be- 
^ tween the two families as long as the marriage lasts, and 
leven afterwards if there are children. The birth of 
each child, the death of a member of either household, 
a visit of the wife to her family, or if he lives with her 
people, of the husband to his, is marked by the presenta- 
tion of gifts. 

In premarital relationships, a convention of love 
making is strictly adhered to. True, this is a convention 
of speech, rather than of action. A boy declares that he 
will die if a girl refuses him her favours, but the Sa- 
moans laugh at stories of romantic love, scoff at fidelity 
to a long absent wife or mistress, believe explicitly that 



one love will quickly cure another. The fidelity which 
is followed by pregnancy is taken as proof positive of 
a real attachment, although having many mistresses is 
never out of harmony with a declaration of affection 
for each. The composition of ardent love songs, the 
fashioning of long and flowery love letters, the invoca- 
tion of the moon, the stars and the sea in verbal court- 
ship, all serve to give Samoan love-making a close 
superficial resemblance to our own, yet the attitude is 
far closer ^o that of Schnitzler's hero in The Ajfairs of 
Anatol. pRomantic love as it occurs in our civilisation, 
inextricabty bound up with ideas of monogamy, ex- 
clusiveness, jealousy and undeviating fidelity does not 
occur in Samoa.) Our attitude is a compound, the final 
result of many converging lines of development in 
Western civilisation, of the institution of monogamy, 
of the ideas of the age of chivalry, of the ethics of ^ 
Christianity. Even a passionate attachment to one per- 
son which lasts for a long period and persists in the face i 
of discouragement but does not bar out other relation- 
ships, is rare among the Samoans. Marriage, on the 
other hand, is regarded as a social and economic ar- / 
rangement, in which relative wealth, rank, and skill of 
husband and wife, all must be taken into consideration. 
There are many marriages in which both individuals, 
especially if they are over thirty, are completely faith- 
ful. But this must be attributed to the ease of sexual 
adjustment on the one hand, and to the ascendency of 
other interests, social organisation for the men, children 



for the women, over sex interests, rather than to a pas- 
sionate fixation upon the partner in the marriage. As 
the Samoans lack the inhibitions and the intricate spe- 
cialisation of sex feeling which make marriages of con- 
venience unsatisfactory, it is possible to bulwark marital 
happiness with other props than temporary passionate 
devotion. Suitability and expediency become the de- 
ciding factors. 

Adultery does not necessarily mean a broken mar- 
riage. A chief's wife who commits adultery is deemed 
to have dishonoured her high position, and is usually 
discarded, although the chief will openly resent her re- 
marriage to any one of lower rank. If the lover is con- 
sidered the more culpable, the village will take public 
vengeance upon him. In less conspicuous cases the 
amount of fuss which is made over adultery is de- 
pendent upon the relative rank of the offender and 
offended, or the personal jealousy which is only occa- 
sionally aroused. If either the injured husband or the 
injured wife is sufficiently incensed to threaten physical 
violence, the trespasser may have to resort to a public 
ifoga, the ceremonial humiliation before some one 
whose pardon is asked. He goes to the house of the 
man he has injured, accompanied by all the men of his 
household, each one wrapped in a fine mat, the currency 
of the country J the suppliants seat themselves outside 
the house, fine mats spread over their heads, hands 
folded on their breasts, heads bent in attitudes of the 
deepest dejection and humiliation. "And if the man is 



very angry he will say no word. All day he will go 
about his business j he will braid cinet with a quick hand, 
he will talk loudly to his wife, and call out greetings to 
those who pass in the roadway, but he will take no 
notice of those who sit on his own terrace, who dare not 
raise their eyes or make any movement to go away. In 
olden days, if his heart was not softened, he might take 
a club and together with his relatives go out and kill 
those who sit without. But now he only keeps them 
waiting, waiting all day long. The sun will beat down 
upon them J the rain will come and beat on their heads 
and still he will say no word. Then towards evening he 
will say at last: *Come, it is enough. Enter the house 
and drink the kava. Eat the food which I will set 
before you and we will cast our trouble into the sea.' " 
Then the fine mats are accepted as payment for the in- 
jury, the ifoga becomes a matter of village history and 
old gossips will say, "Oh, yes, Lua ! no, she's not lona's 
child. Her father is that chief over in the next village. 
He ifod to lona before she was born." If the offender 
is of much lower rank than the injured husband, his 
chief, or his father (if he is only a young boy) will have 
to humiliate himself in his place. Where the offender 
is a woman, she and her female relatives will make 
similar amends. But they will run far greater danger 
of being roundly beaten and berated j the peaceful 
teachings of Christianity — perhaps because they were 
directed against actual killing, rather than the slightly 
less fatal encounters of women — have made far less 



change in the belligerent activities of the women than 
in those of the men. 

If, on the other hand, a wife really tires of her hus- 
band, or a husband of his wife, divorce is a simple and 
informal matter, the non-resident simply going home to 
his or her family, and the relationship is said to have 
"passed away." It is a very brittle monogamy, often 
trespassed and more often broken entirely. But many 
adulteries occur — ^between a young marriage-shy bache- 
lor and a married woman, or a temporary widower and 
some young girl — which hardly threaten the continuity 
of established relationships. The claim that a woman 
has on her family's land renders her as independent as 
her husband, and so there are no marriages of any dura- 
tion in which either person is actively unhappy. A tiny 
flare-up and a woman goes home to her own people j 
if her husband does not care to conciliate her, each seeks 
another mate. 

Within the family, the wife obeys and serves her 
husband, in theory, though of course, the hen-pecked 
husband is a frequent phenomenon. In families of 
high rank, her personal service to her husband is taken 
over by the taupo and the talking chief but the wife 
always retains the right to render a high chief sacred 
personal services, such as cutting his hair. A wife's 
rank can never exceed her husband's because it is always 
directly dependent upon it. Her family may be richer 
and more illustrious than his, and she may actually exer- 
cise more influence over the village affairs through her 



blood relatives than he, but within the life of the house- 
hold and the village, she is a lausiy wife of a talking 
chief, or a faletua, wife of a chief. This sometimes 
results in conflict, as in the case of Pusa who was the 
sister of the last holder of the highest title on the 
island. This title was temporarily extinct. She was 
also the wife of the highest chief in the village. Should 
her brother, the heir, resume the higher title, her hus- 
band's rank and her rank as his wife would suffer. 
Helping her brother meant lowering the prestige of 
her husband. As she was the type of woman who cared 
a great deal more for wire pulling than for public recog- 
nition, she threw her influence in for her brother. Such 
conflicts are not uncommon, but they present a clear-cut 
choice, usually reinforced by considerations of residence. 
If a woman lives in her husband's household, and 
if, furthermore, that household is in another village, her 
interest is mainly enlisted in her husband's cause j but 
if she lives with her own family, in her own village, her 
allegiance is likely to cling to the blood relatives from 
whom she receives reflected glory and informal privi- 
lege, although no status. 




DANCING is the only activity In which almost all ages 
and both sexes participate and it therefore offers a 
unique opportunity for an analysis of educatipn. 

In the dance there are virtuosos but no formal teach- 
ers. It is a highly individual activity set in a social 
framework. This framework varies from a small danc- 
ing party at which twelve to twenty people are present 
to the major festivities of a malaga (travelling party) 
or a wedding when the largest guest house in the village 
is crowded within and encircled by spectators without. 
With the size and importance of the festivity, the 
formality of the arrangements varies also. Usually the 
occasion of even a small siva (dance) is the presence of 
at least two or three strange young people from another 
village. The pattern entertainment is a division of the 
performers into visitors and hosts, the two sides taking 
turns in providing the music and dancing. This pattern 
is still followed even when the malaga numbers only 
two individuals, a number of hosts going over to swell 
the visitors' ranks. 

It is at these small informal dances that the children 
learn to dance. In the front of the house sit the young 
people who are the centre and arbiters of the occasion. 



The matai and his wife and possibly a related matai 
and the other elders of the household sit at the back of 
the house, in direct reversal of the customary procedure 
according to which the place of the young people is in 
the background. Around the ends cluster women and 
children, and outside lurk the boys and girls who are 
not participating in the dancing, although at any 
moment they may be drawn into it. On such occasions 
the dancing is usually started by the small children, be- 
ginning possibly with seven- and eight-year-olds. The 
chief's wife or one of the young men will call out the 
names of the children and they are stood up in a group 
of three, sometimes all boys or girls, sometimes with a 
girl between two boys, which is the conventional adult 
grouping for the taupo and her two talking chiefs. The 
young men, sitting in a group near the centre of the 
house, provide the music, one of them standing and 
leading the singing to the accompaniment of an im- 
ported stringed instrument which has taken the place of 
the rude bamboo drum of earlier times. The leader sets 
the key and the whole company join in either in the 
song, or by clapping, or by beating on the floor with 
their knuckles. The dancers themselves are the final 
arbiters of the excellence of the music and it is not 
counted as petulance for a dancer to stop in the middle 
and demand better music as the price of continuing. 
The songs sung are few in number j the young people 
of one village seldom know more than a dozen airs j and 
perhaps twice ^s many sets of words which are sung now 



to one air, now to another. The verse pattern is simply 
based upon the number of syllables j a change in stress 
is permitted and rhyme is not demanded so that any 
new event is easily set in the old pattern, and names 
of villages and of individuals are inserted with great 
freedom. The content of the songs is likely to take on 
an extremely personal character containing many quips 
at the expense of individuals and their villages. 

The form of the participation of the audience changes 
according to the age of the dancers. In the case of the 
smaller children, it consists of an endless stream of good- 
natured comment : "Faster ! " "Down lower ! Lower ! " 
"Do it again!" ^^Fd.stcn your lavalava." In the danc- 
ing of the more expert boys and girls the group takes 
part by a steady murmur of "Thank you, thank you, 
for your dancing!" "Beautiful! Engaging! Charm- 
ing! Bravo!" which gives very much the effect of the 
irregular stream of "Amens" at an evangelistic revival. 
This articulate courtesy becomes almost lyric in quality 
when the dancer is a person of rank for whom dancing 
at all is a condescension. 

The little children are put out upon these public 
floors with a minimum of preliminary instruction. As 
babies in their mothers' arms at just such a party as this, 
they learned to clap before they learned to walk, so that 
the beat is indelibly fixed in their minds. As two- and 
three-year-olds they have stood on a mat at home and 
clapped their hands in time to their elders' singing. 
Now they are called upon to perform before a group. 



Wide-eyed, terrified babies stand beside some slightly 
older child, clapping in desperation and trying to add 
new steps borrowed on the spur of the moment from 
their companions. Every improvement is greeted with 
loud applause. The child who performed best at the 
last party is haled forward at the next, for the group is 
primarily interested in its own amusement rather than 
in distributing an equal amount of practice among the 
children. Hence some children rapidly outdistance the 
rest, through interest and increased opportunity as well 
as superior gift. This tendency to give the talented 
child another and another chance is offset somewhat by 
tivalry between relatives who wish to thrust their little 
ones forward. 

While the children are dancing, the older boys and 
girls are refurbishing their costumes with flowers, shell 
necklaces, anklets and bracelets of leaves. One or two 
will probably slip off home and return dressed in 
elaborate bark skirts. A bottle of cocoanut oil Is pro- 
duced from the family chest and rubbed on the bodies 
of the older dancers. Should a person of rank be 
present and consent to dance, the hostess family bring 
out their finest mats and tapas as costume. Sometimes 
this impromptu dressing assumes such importance that 
an adjoining house is taken over as a dressing roomj at 
others it is of so informal a nature that spectators, who 
have gathered outside arrayed only in sheets, have to 
borrow a dress or a lavalava from some other spectator 
before they can appear on the dance floor. 



The form of the dance itself is eminently individu- 
alistic. No figures are prescribed except the half dozen 
formal little claps which open the dance and the use of 
one of a few set endings. There are twenty-five or 
thirty figures, two or three set transitional positions, and 
at least three definite styles, the dance of the taufOy 
the dance of the boys, and the dance of the jesters. 
These three styles relate definitely to the kind of dance 
and not to the status of the dancer. The tauf6*s dance 
is grave, aloof, beautiful. She is required to preserve a 
set, dreamy, nonchalant expression of infinite hauteur 
and detachment. The only permissible alternative to 
this expression is a series of grimaces, impudent rather 
than comic in nature and deriving their principal appeal 
from the strong contrast which they present to the 
more customary gravity. The manala also when he 
dances in his mana'ia role is required to follow this same 
decorous and dignified pattern. Most little girls and a 
few little boys pattern their dancing on this convention. 
Chiefs, on the rare occasions when they consent to dance, 
and older women of rank have the privilege of choosing 
between this style and the adoption of a comedian's 
role. The boys' dance is much jollier than the girls'. 
There is much greater freedom of movement and a 
great deal of emphasis on the noise made by giving 
rapid rhythmical slaps to the unclothed portions of the 
body which produce a crackling tattoo of sound. This 
style is neither salacious nor languorous although the 
taupo^s dance is often both. It is athletic, slightly 



rowdy, exuberant, and owes much of its appeal to the 
feats of rapid and difficult co-ordination which the slap- 
ping involves. The jester's dance is peculiarly the 
dance of those who dance upon either side of the tawpOy 
or the manaiay and honour them by mocking them. It 
is primarily the prerogative of talking chiefs and old 
men and old women in general. The original motive is 
contrast j the jester provides comic relief for the stately 
dance of the tawpOy and the higher the rank of the tawpOy 
the higher the rank of the men and women who will 
condescend to act as clownish foils to her ability. The 
dancing of these jesters is characterised by burlesque, 
horseplay, exaggeration of the stereotyped figures, a 
great deal of noise made by hammering on the open 
mouth with spread palm, and a large amount of leap- 
ing about and pounding on the floor. The clown is 
occasionally so proficient that he takes the centre of the 
floor on these ceremonious occasions. 

The little girl who is learning to dance has these 
three styles from which to choose, she has twenty-five 
or thirty figures from which to compose her dance and 
most important of all she has the individual dancers to 
watch. My first interpretation of the skill of the 
younger children was that they each took an older boy 
or girl as a model and sedulously and slavishly copied 
the whole dance. But I was not able to find a single 
instance in which a child would admit or seemed in 
any way conscious of having copied another j nor did I 
find, after closer familiarity with the group, any 



younger child whose style of dancing could definitely 
be referred to the imitation of another dancer. The 
style of every dancer of any virtuosity is known to 
every one in the village and when it is copied, it is 
copied conspicuously so that Vaitogi, the little girl who 
places her forearms parallel with the top of her head, 
her palms flat on her head, and advances in a stooping 
position, uttering hissing sounds, will be said to be danc- 
ing a la Sina. There is no stigma upon such imitation j 
the author does not resent it nor particularly glory in 
it J the crowd does not upbraid it 3 but so strong is the 
feeling for individualisation that a dancer will seldom 
introduce more than one such feature into an evening's 
performance J and when the dancing of two girls is 
similar, it is similar in spite of the efforts of both, rather 
than because of any attempt at imitation. Naturally, 
the dancing of the young children is much more simi- 
lar than the dancing of the young men and girls who 
had had time and opportunity really to perfect a style. 
The attitude of the elders towards precocity in sing- 
ing, leading the singing or dancing, is in striking con- 
trast to their attitude towards every other form of 
precocity. On the dance floor the dreaded accusation, 
"You are presuming above your age," is never heard. 
Little boys who would be rebuked and possibly whipped 
for such behaviour on any other occasion are allowed 
to preen themselves, to swagger and bluster and take 
the limelight without a word of reproach. The rela- 
tives crow with delight over a precocity for which they 



would hide their heads in shame were it displayed in 
any other sphere. 

It is on these semi-formal occasions that the dance 
really serves as an educational factor. The highly 
ceremonious dance of the taupo or manaia and their 
talking chiefs at a wedding or a malagay with its elab- 
orate costuming, compulsory distribution of gifts, and 
its vigilant attention to precedent and prerogative, offers 
no opportunities to the amateur or the child. They may 
only cluster outside the guest house and watch the pro- 
ceedings. The existence of such a heavily stylized and 
elaborate archetype of course serves an additional func- 
tion in giving zest as well as precedent to the informal 
occasions which partially ape its grandeur. 

The significance of the dance in the education and 
socialisation of Samoan children is two-fold. In the 
first place it effectively offsets the rigorous subordi- 
nation in which children are habitually kept. Here the 
admonitions of the elders change from "Sit down and;% 
keep still!" to "Stand up and dance!" The children'' 
are actually the centre of the group instead of its barely 
tolerated fringes. The parents and relatives distribute 
generous praise by way of emphasising their children's 
superiority over the children of their neighbours or 
their visitors. The ubiquitous ascendency of age is 
somewhat relaxed in the interests of greater proficiency. 
Each child is a person with a d efinite con tribution to 
make regardless of sex and age. This emphasis on 
individuality is carried to limits which seriously mar the 



dance as an aesthetic performance. The formal adult 
dance with its row of dancers, the tawpo in the centre 
and an even number of dancers on each side focussed 
upon her with every movement directed towards ac- 
centuating her dancing, loses both symmetry and unity 
in the hands of the ambitious youngsters. Each dancer 
moves in a glorious individualistic oblivion of the 
others, there is no pretence of co-ordination or of sub- 
ordinating the wings to the centre of the line. Often 
a dancer does not pay enough attention to her fellow 
dancers to avoid continually colliding with them. It 
is a genuine orgy of aggressive individualistic exhibi- 
tionism. This tendency, so blatantly displayed on 
these informal occasions, does not mar the perfection 
of the occasional formal dance when the solemnity of 
the occasion becomes a sufficient check upon the partici- 
pants' aggressiveness. The formal dance is of personal 
significance only to people of rank or to the virtuoso to 
whom it presents a perfect occasion for display. 

The second influence of the dance is its reduction of 
the threshold of shyness. There is as much difference 
between one Samoan child and another in the matter of 
shyness and self-consciousness as is apparent among our 
children, but where our shyest children avoid the lime- 
light altogether, the Samoan child looks pained and 
anxious but dances just the same. The limelight is re- 
garded as inevitable and the child makes at least a mini- 
mum of effort to meet its requirements by standing up 
and going through a certain number of motions. The 



beneficial effects of this early habituation to the public 
eye and the resulting control of the body are more 
noticeable in the case of boys than of girls. Fifteen- 
and sixteen-year-old boys dance with a charm and a 
complete lack of self -consciousness which is a joy to 
watch. The adolescent girl whose gawky, awkward gait 
and lack of co-ordination may be appalling, becomes a 
graceful, self-possessed person upon the dance floor. 
But this ease and poise does not seem to be carried over 
into everyday life with the same facility as it is in the 
case of young boys. 

In one way this informal dance floor approximates 
more closely to our educational methods than does any 
lother aspect of Samoan education. For here the pre- 
cocious child is applauded, made much of, given more 
and more opportunities to show its proficiency while the 
stupid child is rebuked, neglected and pushed to the 
wall. This difference in permitted practice is reflected 
in increasing differences in the skill of the children as 
'they grow older. Inferiority feeling in the classic pic- 
iture which is so frequent in our society is rare in Samoa. 
Inferiority there seems to be derived from two sources, 
clumsiness in sex relations which affects the young men 
after they are grown and produces the moetotoloy and 
clumsiness upon the dance floor. I have already told 
the story of the little girl, shy beyond her fellows, 
whom prospective high rank had forced into the lime- 
light and made miserably diffident and self-conscious. 

And the most unhappy of the older girls was Masina, 



a girl about three years past puberty. Masina could 
not dance. Every one in the village knew that she 
could not dance. Her contemporaries deplored itj the 
younger children made fun of her. She had little 
charm, was deprecating in her manner, awkward, shy 
and ill at ease. All of her five lovers had been casual, 
all temporary, all unimportant. She associated with 
girls much younger than herself. She had no self- 
confidence. No one sought her hand in marriage and 
she would not marry until her family needed the kind 
of property which forms a bride price. 

It is interesting to notice that the one aspect of life 
in which the elders actively discriminate against the less 
proficient children seems to be the most powerful de- 
terminant in giving the children a feeling of inferiority. 

The strong emphasis upon dancing does not dis- 
criminate against the physically defective. Instead 
every defect is capitalised in the form of the dance or 
compensated for by the perfection of the dance. I saw 
one badly hunchbacked boy who had worked out a most 
ingenious imitation of a turtle and also a combination 
dance with another boy in which the other supported 
him on his back. Ipu, the little albino, danced with 
aggressive facility and with much applause, while mad 
Laki, who suffered from a delusion that he was the 
high chief of the island, was only too delighted to dance 
for any one who addressed him with the elaborate 
courtesy phrases suitable to his rank. The dumb 
brother of the high chief of one village utilised his 



deaf mute gutturals as a running accompaniment to his 
dance, while the brothers of a fourteen-year-old feeble- 
minded mad boy were accustomed to deck his head 
with branches which excited him to a frenzied rhyth- 
mical activity, suggesting a stag whose antlers had been 
caught in the bush. The most precocious girl dancer 
in Tau was almost blind. So every defect, every 
handicap was included in this universal, specialised ex- 
ploitation of personality. 

The dancing child is almost always a very different / 
person from her everyday self. After long acquaint- (' 
ance it is sometimes possible to guess the type of dance \ 
which a particular girl will do. This is particularly ' 
easy in the case of obviously tom-boy girls, but one is 
continually fooled by the depths of sophistication in the 
dancing of some pensive, dull child, or the lazy grace 
of some noisy little hoodlum. 

Formal dancing displays are a recognised social en- 
tertainment and the highest courtesy a chief can offer 
his guest is to have his taupo dance for him. So like- 
wise the boys dance after they have been tattooed, the 
manaia dances when he goes to woo his bride, the bride 
dances at her wedding. In the midnight conviviality of 
a malaga the dance often becomes flagrantly obscene 
and definitely provocative in character, but both of these 
are special developments of less importance than the 
function of informal dancing in the development of 
individuality and the compensation for repression of 
personality In other spheres of life. 




THE ease with which personality differences can be 
adjusted by a change of residence prevents the Samoans 
from pressing one another too hard. Their evaluations 
of personality are g curious mixture of caution and 
fatalism. There is one word musu which expresses un- 
willingness and intractability, wTiether in the mistress 
who refuses to welcome a hitherto welcome lover, the 
chief who refuses to lend his kava bowl, the baby who 
won't go to bed, or the talking chief who won't go on 
a malaga. The appearance of a musu attitude is treated 
with almost superstitious respect. Lovers will prescribe 
formulae for the treatment of a mistress, "lest she be- 
come musu" and the behaviour of the suppliant is care- 
fully orientated in respect to this mysterious undesira- 
bility. The feeling seems to be not that one is dealing 
with an individual in terms of his peculiar preoccupa- 
tions in order to assure a successful outcome of a per- 
sonal relationship, appealing now to vanity, now to fear, 
now to a desire for power, but rather that one is using 
one or another of a series of potent practices to prevent 
a mysterious and widespread psychological phenome- 
non from arising. Once this attitude has appeared, a 
Samoan habitually gives up the struggle without more 




A sfirii of the zvood 


detailed inquiry and with a minimum of complaint. 
This fatalistic acceptance of an inexplicable attitude 
makes for an odd incuriousness about motives. The 
Samoans are not in the least insensitive to differences 
between people. But their full appreciation of these 
differences is blurred by their conception of an obstinate 
disposition, a tendency to take umbrage, irascibility, 
contra-suggestibility, and particular biases as just so 
many roads to one attitude — musu. 

This lack of curiosity about motivation is furthered 
by the conventional acceptance of a completely ambigu- 
ous answer to any personal question. The most charac- 
teristic reply to any question about one's motivation is 
Ta iloy "search me," sometimes made more specific by 
the addition of "I don't know." * This is considered to 
be an adequate and acceptable answer in ordinary con- 
versation although its slight curtness bars it out from 
ceremonious occasions. So deep seated is the habit of 
using this disclaimer that I had to put a taboo upon its 
use by the children in order to get the simplest question 
answered directly. When this ambiguous rejoinder is 
combined with a statement that one is musu, the result 
is the final unrevealing statement, "Search me, why, I 
don't want to, that's all." Plans will be abandoned, 
children refuse to live at home, marriages broken off. 
Village gossip is interested in the fart but shrugs its 
shoulders before the motives^ 

There is one curious exception to this attitude. If 

♦See Appendix I, page 253. 



an Individual falls ill, the explanation is sought first 
in the attitudes of his relatives. Anger in the heart of a 
relative, especially in that of a sister^ Is most potent in 
producing evil and so the whole household is convened, 
a kava ceremony held and each relative solemnly en- 
joined to confess what anger there is in his heart against 
the sick person. Such injunctions are met either by 
solemn disclaimers or by detailed confessions: "Last 
week my brother came into the house and ate all the 
food, and I was angry all day"j or "My brother and I 
had a quarrel and my father took my brother's side and 
I was angry at my father for his favouritism towards 
my brother." But this special ceremony only serves to 
throw into strong relief the prevalent unspeculative 
attitude towards motivation. I once saw a girl leave a 
week-end fishing party immediately upon arrival at our 
destination and insist upon returning in the heat of the 
day the six miles to the village. But her companions 
ventured no hypothesis j she was simply 'musu to the 

How great a protection for the Individual such an 
attitude is will readily be seen when it is remembered 
how little privacy any one has. Chief or child, he 
dwells habitually in a house with at least half a dozen 
other people. His possessions are simply rolled in a 
mat, placed on the rafters or piled carelessly into a 
basket or a chest. A chief's personal property is likely 
to be respected, at least by the women of the house- 
hold, but no one else can be sure from hour to hour of 



his nominal possessions. The tapa which a woman 
spent three weeks in making will be given away to a 
visitor during her temporary absence. The rings may 
be begged off her fingers at any moment. Privacy of 
possessions is virtually impossible. In the same way, 
all of an individual's acts are public property. An 
occasional love affair may slip through the fingers of 
gossip, and an occasional moetotolo go uncaught, but 
there is a very general cognisance on the part of the 
whole village of the activity of every single inhabitant. 
I shall never forget the outraged expression with which 
an informant told me that nobody, actually nobody at 
all, knew who was the father of Fa'amoana's baby. 
The oppressive atmosphere of the small town is all 
about them J in an hour children will have made a 
dancing song of their most secret acts. This glaring 
publicity is compensated for by a violent gloomy secre- 
tiveness. Where a Westerner would say, "Yes, I love 
him but you'll never know how far it went," a Samoan 
would say, "Yes, of course I lived with him, but you'll 
never know whether I love him or hate him." 

The Samoan language has no regular comparative. 
There are several clumsy ways of expressing compari- 
son by using contrast, "This is good and that is bad"j 
or by the locution, "And next to him there comes, etc." 
Comparisons are not habitual although in the rigid 
social structure of the community, relative rank is very 
keenly recognised. But relative goodness, relative 
beauty, relative wisdom are unfamiliar formalisations 



to them. I tried over and over again to get judgments 
as to who was the wisest or the best man of the com- 
munity. An informant's first impulse was always to 
answer: "Oh, they are all good"j or, "There are so 
many wise ones." Curiously enough, there seemed to 
be less difficulty in distinguishing the vicious than the 
virtuous. This is probably due to the Missionary in- 
fluence which if it has failed to give the native a con- 
viction of Sin, has at least provided him with a list of 
sins. Although I often met with a preliminary re- 
sponse, "There are so many bad boys"j it was usually 
qualified spontaneously by "But so-and-so is the worst 
because he . . ." Ugliness and viciousness were more 
vivid and unusual attributes of personality; beauty, wis- 
dom, and kindness were taken for granted. 

In an account given of another person the sequence 
of traits mentioned followed a set and objective pattern: 
sex, age, rank, relationship, defects, activities. Sponta- 
neous comment upon character or personality were un- 
usual. So a girl describes her grandmother: "Lauuli? 
Oh, she is an old woman, very old, she's my father's 
mother. She's a widow with one eye. She is too old 
to go inland but sits in the house all day. She makes 
tapa." * This completely unanalytical account is only 
modified in the case of exceptionally in^.elligent adults- 
who are asked to make judgments. 

In the native classification attitudes are qualified by 
four terms, good and bad, easy and difficult, paired. A 

* For additional character sketches see Appendix I, page 253. 



good child will be said to listen easily or to act well, a 
bad child to listen with difficulty or act badly. "Easy" 
and "with difficulty" are judgments of character j 
"good" and "bad" of behaviour. So that good or bad 
behaviour have become, explained in terms of ease or 
difficulty, to be regarded as an inherent capability of the 
individual. As we would say a person sang easily or 
swam without effort, the Samoan will say one obeys 
easily, acts respectfully, "easily," reserving the terms 
"good" or "well" for objective approbation. So a 
chief who was commenting on the bad behaviour of 
his brother's daughter remarked, "But Tui's children 
always did listen with difficulty," with as casual an 
acceptance of an irradicable defect as if he had said, 
"But John always did have poor eye sight." 

Such an attitude towards conduct is paralleled by an 
equally unusual attitude towards the expression of emo- 
tion. The expressions of emotions are classified as 
"caused" and "uncaused." The emotional, easily up- 
set, m.oody person is described as laughing without 
cause, crying without cause, showing anger or pugna- 
ciousness without cause. The expression "to be very 
angry without cause" does not carry the implication of 
quick temper, which is expressed by the word "to anger 
easily," nor the connotation of a disproportionate re- 
sponse to a legitimate stimulus, but means literally to 
be angry without cause, or freely, an emotional state 
without any apparent stimulus whatsoever. Such judg- 
ments are the nearest that the Samoan approaches to 
,... [127] 


evaluation of temperament as opposed to character. 
The well-integrated individual who approximates 
closely to the attitudes of his age and sex group is not 
accused of laughing, crying, or showing anger without 
cause. Without inquiry it is assumed that he has good 
typical reasons for a behaviour which would be scruti- 
nised and scorned in the case of the temperamental 
deviant. And always excessive emotion, violent pref- 
erences, strong allegiances are disallowed. The Samoan 
preference is for a middle course, a moderate amount o± 
feeling, a discreet expression of a reasonable and bal- 
anced attitude. Those who care greatly are always 
said to care without cause. 

The one most disliked trait in a contemporary is ex- 
pressed by the term fiasili, literally "desiring to be 
highest," more idiomatically, "stuck up." This is the 
comment of the age mate where an older person would 
use the disapproving tautala laititiy "presuming above 
one's age." It is essentially the resentful comment of 
those who are ignored, neglected, left behind upon those 
who excel them, scorn them, pass them by. As a term 
of reproach it is neither as dreaded nor as resented as 
the tautala laititl because envy is felt to play a part 
in the taunt. 

In the casual conversations, the place of idle specula- 
tion about motivation is taken by explanations in terms 
of physical defect or objective misfortune, thus "Sila 
is crying over in that house. Well, Sila is deaf." 
"Tulipa is angry at her brother. Tulipa's mother went 



to Tutuila last week." Although these statements have 
the earmarks of attempted explanations they are really 
onl^_conversational habits._._The physical defect or 
recent incident, is not specifically invoked but merely 
mentioned with slightly greater and more deprecatory 
emphasis. The whole preoccupation is with the in- 
dividual as an actor, and the motivations peculiar to his 
psychology are left an unplumbed mystery. 

Judgments are always made in terms of age groups, 
from the standpoints of the group of the speaker and 
the age of the person judged. A young boy will not 
be regarded as an intelligent or stupid, attractive or un- 
attractive, clumsy or skilful person. He is a bright 
little boy of nine who runs errands efficiently and is 
wise enough to hold his tongue when his elders are 
present, or a promising youth of eighteen who can 
make excellent speeches in the Aumagay lead a fishing 
expedition with discretion and treat the chiefs with the 
respect which is due to them, or a wise matai, whose 
words are few and well chosen and who is good at weav- 
ing eel traps. The virtues of the child are not the 
virtues of the adult. And the judgment of the speaker 
is similarly influenced by age, so that the relative esti- 
mation of character varies also. Pre-adolescent boys 
and girls will vote that boy and girl worst who are most 
pugnacious, irascible, contentious, rowdy. Young peo- 
ple from sixteen to twenty shift their censure from 
the rowdy and bully to the licentious, the moetotolo 
among the boys, the notoriously promiscuous among the 



girls j while adults pay very little attention to sex of- 
fenders and stress instead the inept, the impudent and 
the disobedient among the young, and the lazy, the 
stupid, the quarrelsome and the unreliable as the least 
desirable characters among the adults. When an adult 
is speaking the standards of conduct are graded in this 
fashion: small children should keep quiet, wake up 
early, obey, work hard and cheerfully, play with chil- 
dren of their own sexj young people should work in- 
dustriously and skilfully, not be presuming, marry dis- 
creetly, be loyal to their relatives, not carry tales, nor 
be trouble makers j while adults should be wise, peace- 
able, serene, generous, anxious for the good prestige of 
their village and conduct their lives with all good form 
and decorum. No prominence is given to the subtler 
facts of intelligence and temperament. Preference be- 
tween the sexes is given not to the arrogant, the flippant, 
the courageous, but to the quiet, the demure boy or girl 
who "speaks softly and treads lightly." 





WITH a background of knowledge about Samoan cus- 
tom, of the way in which a ch'ld is educated, of the 
claims which the community makes upon children and 
young people, of the attitude towards sex and per- 
sonality, we come to the tale of the group of girls with 
whom I spent many months, the group of girls between 
ten and twenty years of age who lived in the three little 
villages on the lee side of the island of Tau. In their 
lives as a group, in their responses as individuals, lies 
the answer to the question: What is coming of age like 
in Samoa? 

The reader will remember that the principal activity 
of the little girls was baby-tending. They could also 
do reef fishing, weave a ball and make a pin-wheel, 
climb a cocoanut tree, keep themselves afloat in a swim- 
ming hole which changed its level fifteen feet with 
every wave, grate off the skin of a breadfruit or taro, 
sweep the sanded yard of the house, carry water from 
the sea, do simple washing and dance a somewhat indi- 
vidualised siva. Their knowledge of the biology of 

* See Tables and Summaries in Appendix IV. 



life and death was overdeveloped in proportion to 
their knowledge of the organisation of their society or 
any of the niceties of conduct prescribed for their elders. 
They were in a position which would be paralleled in 
our culture if a child had seen birth and death before 
she was taught not to pass a knife blade first or how to 
make change for a quarter. None of these children 
could speak the courtesy language, even in its most ele- 
mentary forms, their knowledge being confined to four 
or five words of invitation and acceptance. This 
ignorance effectually barred them from the conversa- 
tions of their elders upon all ceremonial occasions. 
Spying upon a gathering of chiefs would have been an 
unrewarding experience. They knew nothing of the 
social organisation of the village beyond knowing which 
adults were heads of families and which adult men and 
women were married. They used the relationship 
terms loosely and without any real understanding, often 
substituting the term, "sibling of my own sex," where 
a sibling of opposite sex was meant, and when they 
applied the term "brother" to a young uncle, they did 
so without the clarity of their elders who, while using 
the term in an age-grouping sense, realised perfectly 
that the "brother" was really a mother's or father's 
brother. In their use of language their immaturity was 
chiefly evidenced by a lack of familiarity with the 
courtesy language, and by much confusion in the use of 
the dual and of the inclusive and exclusive pronouns. 
These present about the same difficulty in their lan- 



guage as the use of a nominative after the verb "to be" 
in English. They had also not acquired a mastery of 
the processes for manipulating the vocabulary by the 
use of very freely combining prefixes and suffixes. A 
child will use the term fa'a Samoay "in Samoan fash- 
ion," or fa'atamay tomboy, but fail to use the con- 
venient fa'a in making a new and less stereotyped com- 
parison, using instead some less convenient linguistic 

All of these children had seen birth and death. They 
had seen many dead bodies. They had watched miscar- 
riage and peeked under the arms of the old women who 
were washing and commenting upon the undeveloped 
foetus. There was no convention of sending children 
of the family away at such times, although the hordes 
of neighbouring children were scattered with a shower 
of stones if any of the older women could take time 
from the more absorbing events to hurl them. But the 
feeling here was that children were noisy and trouble- 
some j there was no desire to protect them from shock 
or to keep them in ignorance. About half of the chil- 
dren had seen a partly developed foetus, which the 
Samoans fear will otherwise be born as an avenging 
ghost, cut from a woman's dead body in the open 
grave. If shock is the result of early experiences with 
birth, death, or sex activities, it should surely be mani- 
fest here in this postmortem Csesarian where grief for 
the dead, fear of death, a sense of horror and a dread of 

*See Appendix I, page 256. 


contamination from contact with the dead, the open, 
unconcealed operation and the sight of the distorted, 
repulsive foetus all combine to render the experience 
indelible. An only slightly less emotionally charged 
experience was the often witnessed operation of cut- 
ting open any dead body to search out the cause of 
death. These operations performed in the shallow 
open grave, beneath a glaring noon-day sun, with a 
frighted, excited crowd watching in horrified fascina- 
tion, are hardly orderly or unemotional initiations into 
the details of biology and death, and yet they seem to 
leave no bad effects on the children's emotional make- 
up. Possibly the adult attitude that these are horrible 
but perfectly natural, non-unique occurrences, forming 
a legitimate part of the child's experience, may suffi- 
ciently account for the lack of bad results. Children 
take an intense interest in life and death, and are more 
proportionately obsessed by it than are their adults who 
divide their horror between the death of a young neigh- 
bour in child-bed and the fact that the high chief has 
been insulted by some breach of etiquette in the neigh- 
bouring village. The intricacies of the social life are a 
closed book to the child and a correspondingly fascinat- 
ing field of exploration in later life, while the facts of 
life and death are shorn of all mystery at an early age. 
In matters of sex the ten-year-olds are equally 
sophisticated, although they witness sex activities only 
surreptitiously, since all expressions of affection are 
rigorously barred in public. A couple whose wedding 


night may have been spent in a room with ten other 
people will never the less shrink in shame from even 
touching hands in public. Individuals between whom 
there have been sex relations are said to be "shy of 
each other," and manifest this shyness in different 
fashion but with almost the same intensity as in the 
brother and sister avoidance. Husbands and wives 
never walk side by side through the village, for the 
husband, particularly, would be "ashamed." So no 
Samoan child is accustomed to seeing father and mother 
exchange casual caresses. The customary salutation by 
rubbing noses is, of course, as highly conventionalised 
and impersonal as our handshake. The only sort of 
demonstration which ever occurs in public is of the 
horseplay variety between young people whose affec- 
tions are not really involved. This romping is par- 
ticularly prevalent in groups of women, often taking 
the form of playfully snatching at the sex organs. 

But the lack of privacy within the houses where 
mosquito netting marks off purely formal walls about 
the married couples, and the custom of young lovers 
of using the palm groves for their rendezvous, makes 
it inevitable that children should see intercourse, often 
and between many different people. In many cases 
they have not seen first intercourse, which is usually 
accompanied by greater shyness and precaution. With 
the passing of the public ceremony, defloration forms 
one of the few mysteries in a young Samoan's knowl- 
edge of life. But scouring the village palm groves in 



search of lovers is one of the recognised forms of 
amusement for the ten-year-olds. 

Samoan children have complete knowledge of the 
human body and its functions, owing to the custom of 
little children going unclothed, the scant clothing of 
adults, the habit of bathing in the sea, the use of the 
beach as a latrine and the lack of privacy in sexual life. 
They also have a vivid understanding of the nature of 
sex. Masturbation is an all but universal habit, be- 
ginning at the age of six or seven. There were only 
three little girls in my group who did not masturbate. 
Theoretically it is discontinued with the beginning of 
heterosexual activity and only resumed again in periods 
of enforced continence. Among grown boys and girls 
[casual homosexual practices also supplant it to a certain 
lextent. Boys masturbati&Jii^groups but among little 
girls it is a more individualistic, secretive practice. This 
habit seems never to be a matter of individual discovery, 
one child always learning from another. The adult ban 
only covers the unseemliness of open indulgence. 

The adult attitude towards all the details of sex is 
characterised by this view that they are unseemly, not 
that they are wrong. Thus a youth would think noth- 
ing of shouting the length of the village, "Ho, maiden, 
wait for me in your bed to-night," but public comment 
upon the details of sex or of evacuation were considered 
to be in bad taste. All the words which are thus ban- 
ished from polite conversation are cherished by the 
children who roll the salacious morsels under their 


I I 


tongues with great relish. The children of seven and 
eight get as much illicit satisfaction out of the other 
functions of the body as out of sex. This is interesting 
in view of the different attitude in Samoa towards the 
normal processes of evacuation. There is no privacy 
and no sense of shame. Nevertheless the brand of bad 
taste seems to be as effective in interesting the young 
children as is the brand of indecency among us. It is 
also curious that in theory and in fact boys and men take 
a more active interest in the salacious than do the 
women and girls. 

It seems difficult to account for a salacious attitude 
among a people where so little is mysterious, so little 
forbidden. The precepts of the missionaries may have 
modified the native attitude more than the native prac- 
tice. And the adult attitude towards children as non- 
participants may also be an important causal factor. 
For this seems to be the more correct view of any pro- 
hibitions which govern children. There is little evi- 
dence of a desire to preserve a child's innocence or to 
protect it from witnessing behaviour, the following of 
which would constitute the heinous offence, tautala 
laltut ("presuming above one's age"). For while a pair 
of lovers would never indulge in any demonstration 
before any one, child or adult, who was merely a specta- 
tor, three or four pairs of lovers who are relatives or 
friends often choose a common rendezvous. (This, of 
course, excludes relatives of opposite sex, included in 
the brother and sister avoidance, although married 



brothers and sisters might live in the same house after 
marriage.) From the night dances, now discontinued 
under missionary influence, which usually ended in a 
riot of open promiscuity, children and old people were 
excluded, as non-participants whose presence as unin- 
volved spectators would have been indecent. This 
attitude towards non-participants characterised all emo- 
tionally charged events, a women's weaving bee which 
was of a formal, ceremonial nature, a house-building, 
a candle-nut burning — these were activities at which the 
presence of a spectator would have been unseemly. 

Yet, coupled with the sophistication of the children 
went no pre-adolescent heterosexual experimentation 
and very little homosexual activity which was regarded 
in native theory as imitative of and substitutive for 
heterosexual. The lack of precocious sex experimenta- 
tion is probably due less to the parental ban on such 
precocity than to the strong institutionalised antagonism 
between younger boys and younger girls and the taboo 
against any amiable intercourse between them. This 
rigid sex dichotomy may also be operative in determin- 
ing the lack of specialisation of sex feeling in adults. 
Since there is a heavily charged avoidance feeling to- 
wards brother and cousins, and a tendency to lump all 
other males together as the enemy who will some day 
be one's lovers, there are no males in a girPs age group 
whom she ever regards simply as individuals without 
relation to sex. 

Such then was the experience of the twenty-eight 



little girls in the three villages. In temperament and 
character they varied enormously. There was Tita, 
who at nine acted like a child of seven, was still prin- 
cipally preoccupied with food, completely irresponsible 
as to messages and commissions, satisfied to point a 
proud fat finger at her father who was town crier. 
Only a year her senior was Pele, the precocious little 
sister of the loosest woman in the village. Pele spent 
most of her time caring for her sister's baby which, she 
delighted in telling you, was of disputed parentage. 
Her dancing in imitation of her sister's was daring and 
obscene. Yet, despite the burden of the heavy ailing 
baby which she carried always on her hip and the sor- 
didness of her home where her fifty-year-old mother 
still took occasional lovers and her weak-kneed insignifi- 
cant father lived a hen-pecked ignominious existence, 
Pele's attitude towards life was essentially gay and 
sane. Better than suggestive dancing she liked hunt- 
ing for rare samoana shells along the beach or diving 
feet first into the swimming hole or hunting for land 
crabs in the moonlight. Fortunately for her, she lived 
in the centre of the Luma gang. In a more isolated 
spot her unwholesome home and natural precocity 
might have developed very differently. As it was, 
she differed far less from the other children in her 
group than her family, the most notorious in the village, 
differed from the families of her companions. In a 
Samoan village the influence of the home environment 
is being continually offset in the next generation by 



group activities through which the normal group 
standards assert themselves. This was universally true 
for the boys for whom the many years' apprenticeship 
in the Aumaga formed an excellent school for dis- 
ciplining individual peculiarities. In the case of the 
girls this function was formerly performed in part by 
the Aualumay but, as I pointed out in the chapter on 
the girl and her age group, the little girl is much more 
dependent upon her neighbourhood than is the boy. 
As an adult she is also more dependent upon her rela- 
tionship group. 

Tuna, who lived next door to Pele, was in a different 
plight, the unwilling little victim of the great Samoan 
sin of tautala laUit't. Her sister Lila had eloped at 
fifteen with a seventeen-year-old boy. A pair of hot- 
headed children, they had never thoroughly re-estab- 
lished themselves with the community, although their 
families had relented and solemnised the marriage with 
an appropriate exchange of property. Lila still smarted 
under the public disapproval of her precocity and 
lavished a disproportionate amount of affection upon 
her obstreperous baby whose incessant crying was the 
bane of the neighbourhood. After spoiling him be- 
yond endurance, she would hand him over to Tuna. 
Tuna, a stocky little creature with a large head and 
enormous melting eyes, looked at life from a slightly 
oblique angle. She was a little more calculating than 
the other children, a little more watchful for returns, 
less given to gratuitous outlays of personal service. 



Her sister's overindulgence of the baby made Tuna's 
task much harder than those of her companions. But 
she reaped her reward in the slightly extra gentleness 
with which they treated their most burdened associate, 
and here again the group saved her from a pronounced 
temperamental response to the exigencies of her home 

A little further away lived Fitu and Ula, Maliu and 
Pola, two pairs of sisters. Fitu and Maliu, girls of 
about thirteen, were just withdrawing from the gang, 
turning their younger brothers and sisters over to Ula 
and Pola, and beginning to take a more active part in 
the affairs of their households, Ula was alert, pretty, 
pampered. Her household might in all fairness be 
compared to oursj it consisted of her mother, her father, 
two sisters and two brothers. True, her uncle who lived 
next door was the inatai of the household, but still this 
little biological family had a strong separate existence 
of its own and the children showed the results of it. 
Lalala, the mother, was an intelligent and still beauti- 
ful woman, even after bearing six children in close 
succession. She came from a family of high rank, and 
because she had had no brothers, her father had taught 
her much of the genealogical material usually taught 
to the favourite son. Her knowledge of the social 
structure of the community and of the minutlas of the 
ceremonies which had formerly surrounded the court 
of the king of Manu'a was as full as that of any middle- 
aged man in the community. She was skilled in the 



handicrafts and her brain was full of new designs and 
unusual applications of material. She knew several 
potent medical remedies and had many patients. Mar- 
ried at fifteen, while still a virgin, her marital life, 
which had begun with the cruel public defloration cere- 
mony, had been her only sex experience. She adored 
her husband, whose poverty was due to his having come 
from another island and not to laziness or inability. 
Lalala made her choices in life with a full recognition 
of the facts of her existence. There was too much for 
her to do. She had no younger sisters to bear the brunt 
of baby-tending for her. There were no youths to help 
her husband in the plantations. Well and good, she 
would not wrestle with the inevitable. And so Lalala's 
house was badly kept. Her children were dirty and 
bedraggled. But her easy good nature did not fail her 
as she tried to weave a fine mat on some blazing after- 
noon, while the baby played with the brittle easily 
broken pandanus strands, and doubled her work. But 
all of this reacted upon Fitu, lanky, ill-favoured execu- 
tive little creature that she was. Fitu combined a 
passionate devotion to her mother with an obsessive 
solicitude for her younger brothers and sisters. To- 
wards Ula alone her attitude was mixed. Ula, fifteen 
months younger, was pretty, lithe, flexible and indolent. 
While Fitu was often teased by her mother and re- 
buked by her companions for being like a boy, Ula was 
excessively feminine. She worked as hard as any other 



child of her age, but Fitu felt that their mother and 
their home were unusual and demanded more than the 
average service and devotion. She and her mother 
were like a pair of comrades, and Fitu bossed and joked 
with her mother in a fashion shocking to all Samoan 
onlookers. If Fitu was away at night, her mother went 
herself to look for her, instead of sending another child. 
Fitu was the eldest daughter, with a precocity bred of 
responsibility and an efficiency which was the direct out- 
come of her mother's laissez-faire attitude. Ula 
showed equally clearly the effect of being the prettier 
younger sister, trading upon her superior attractiveness 
and more meagre sense of duty. These children, as 
did the children in all three of the biological families 
in the three villages, showed more character, more 
sharply defined personality, greater precocity and a 
more personal, more highly charged attitude toward*; 
their parents. 

It would be easy to lay too much stress on the dif- 
ferences between children in large households and chil- 
dren in small ones. There were, of course, too few 
cases to draw any final conclusions. But the small fam- 
ily in Samoa did demand from the child the very quali- 
ties which were frowned upon in Samoan society, based 
upon the ideal of great households in which there were 
many youthful labourers who knew their place. And 
in these small families where responsibility and initia- 
tive were necessary, the children seemed to develop 



them much earlier than in the more usual home envi- 
ronment in which any display of such qualities was 
sternly frowned upon. 

This was the case with Malui and Meta, Ipu and Vi, 
Mata, Tino and Lama, little girls just approaching 
puberty who lived in large heterogeneous households. 
They were giving over baby-tending for more produc- 
tive work. They were reluctantly acquiring some of 
the rudiments of etiquette j they were slowly breaking 
their play affiliations with the younger children. But 
all of this was an enforced change of habits rather than 
any change in attitude. They were conscious of their 
new position as almost grown girls who could be trusted 
to go fishing or work on the plantations. Under their 
short dresses they again wore lavalavas which they had 
almost forgotten how to keep fastened. These dragged 
about their legs and cramped their movements and fell 
oif if they broke into a sprint. Most of all they missed 
the gang life and eyed a little wistfully the activities of 
their younger relatives. Their large impersonal house- 
holds provided them with no personal drives, invested 
them with no intriguing responsibilities. They were 
simply little girls who were robust enough to do heavy 
work and old enough to learn to do skilled work, and 
so had less time for play. 

In general attitude, they differed not at all from 
Tolo, from Tulipa, from Lua, or Lata, whose first 
menstruation was a few months past. No ceremony 
had marked the difference between the two groups. No 



social attitude testified to a crisis past. They were told 
not to make kava while menstruating, but the participa- 
tion in a restriction they'd known about all their lives 
was unimpressive. Some of them had made kava be- 
fore puberty, others had not. It depended entirely 
upon whether there was an available girl or boy about 
when a chief wished to have some kava made. In more 
rigorous days a girl could not make kava nor marry 
until she menstruated. But the former restriction had 
yielded to the requirements of expediency. The 
menstruating girl experienced very little pain which 
might have served to stress for her her new maturity. 
All of the girls reported back or abdominal pains which, 
however, were so slight that they seldom interfered in 
any way with their usual activities. In the table I have 
counted it unusual pain whenever a girl was incapaci- 
tated for work, but these cases were in no sense com- 
parable to severe cases of menstrual cramps in our 
civilisation. They were unaccompanied by dizziness, 
fainting spells, or pain sufficient to call forth groaning 
or writhing. The idea of such pain struck all Samoan 
women as bizarre and humorous when it was described 
to them. And no special solicitude for her health, 
mental or physical, was shown to the menstruating girl. 
From foreign medical advice they had learned that 
bathing during menstruation was bad, and a mother 
occasionally cautioned her daughter not to bathe. 
There was no sense of shame connected with puberty 
nor any need of concealment. Pre-adolescent children 



took the news that a girl had reached puberty, a woman 
had had a baby, a boat had come from Ofu, or a pig 
had been killed by a falling boulder with the same in- 
souciance — all bits of diverting gossip j and any girl 
could give accurate testimony as to the development of 
any other girl in her neighbourhood or relationship 
groups. Nor was puberty the immediate forerunner of 
sex experience. Perhaps a year, two or even three 
years would pass before a girPs shyness would relax, or 
her figure appeal to the roving eye of some older boy. 
To be a virgin's first lover was considered the high 
point of pleasure and amorous virtuosity, so that a 
girPs first lover was usually not a boy of her own age, 
equally shy and inexperienced. The girls in this group 
were divided into little girls like Lua, and gawky over- 
grown Tolo, who said frankly that they did not want 
to go walking with boys, and girls like Pala, who while 
still virgins, were a little weary of their status and 
eager for amorous experience. That they remained in 
this passive untouched state so long was mainly due to 
the conventions of love-making, for while a youth liked 
to woo a virgin, he feared ridicule as a cradle-snatcher, 
while the girls also feared the dreaded accusation of 
tautala laititi ("presuming above one's age"). The 
forays of more seasoned middle-aged marauders 
among these very young girls were frowned upon, and 
so the adolescent girls were given a valuable interval 
in which to get accustomed to new work, greater isola- 
tion and an unfamiliar physical development. 



The next older girls were definitely divided as to 
whether or not they lived in the pastor's households. 
A glance at the table in the appendix will show that 
among the girls a couple of years past puberty, there is 
a definite inverse correlation between residence at home 
and chastity, with only one exception, Ela, who had 
been forgiven and taken back into the household of a 
pastor where workers were short. Ela's best friend 
was her cousin, Talo, the only girl in the group who 
had sex experience before menstruation had begun. 
But Talo was clearly a case of delayed menstruation 3 
all the other signs of puberty were present. Her aunt 
shrugged her shoulders in the face of Talo's obvious 
sophistication and winning charm and made no attempt 
to control her. The friendship between these two 
girls was one of the really important friendships in the 
whole group. Both girls definitely proclaimed their 
preference, and their homosexual practices were un- 
doubtedly instrumental in producing Talo's precocity 
and solacing Ela for the stricter regime of the pastor's 

These casual homosexual relations between girls 
never assumed any long-time importance. On the part 
of growing girls or women who were working together 
they were regarded as a pleasant and natural diversion, 
just tinged with the salacious. "Where heterosexual 
relationships were so casual, so shallowly channelled, 
there was no pattern into which homosexual relation- 
ships could fall. Native theory and vocabulary recog- 



nised the real pervert who was incapable of normal 
heterosexual response, and the very small population is 
probably sufficient explanation for the rarity of these 
types. I saw only one, Sasi, a boy of twenty who was 
studying for the ministry. He was slightly but not 
pronouncedly feminine in appearance, was skilled at 
women's work and his homosexual drive was strong 
enough to goad him into making continual advances to 
other boys. He spent more time casually in the com- 
pany of girls, maintained a more easy-going friendship 
with them than any other boy on the island. Sasi had 
proposed marriage to a girl in a pastor's household in a 
distant village and been refused, but as there was a 
rule that divinity students must marry before ordina- 
tion, this has little significance. I could find no evi- 
dence that he had ever had heterosexual relations and 
the girls' casual attitude towards him was significant. 
They regarded him as an amusing freak while the men 
to whom he had made advances looked upon him with 
mingled annoyance and contempt. There were no 
girls who presented such a clear picture although three 
/ of the deviants discussed in the next chapter were 
clearly mixed types, without, however, showing con- 
vincing evidence of genuine perversion. 

The general preoccupation with sex, the attitude that 

(minor sex activities, suggestive dancing, stimulating 
salacious conversation, salacious songs and definitely 
motivated tussling are all acceptable and attractive di- 
versions, is mainly responsible for the native attitude 



towards homosexual practices. They are simply flay^ 
neither frowned upon nor given much consideration. 
As heterosexual relations are given significance not by 
love and a tremendous fixation upon one individual, 
the only forces which can make a homosexual relation- 
ship lasting and important, but by children and the 
place of marriage in the economic and social structure 
of the village, it is easy to understand why very preva- 
lent homosexual practices have no more important or 
striking results. The recognition and use in hetero- 
sexual relations of all the secondary variations of sex 
activity which loom as primary in homosexual relations 
are instrumental also in minimising their importance. 
The effects of chance childhood perversions, the fixa- 
tion of attention on unusual erogenous zones with con- 
sequent transfer of sensitivity from the more normal 
centres, the absence of a definite and accomplished spe- 
cialisation of erogenous zones — all the accidents of 
emotional development which in a civilisation, recog- 
nising only one narrow form of sex activity, result 
in unsatisfactory marriages, casual homosexuality and 
prostitution, are here rendered harmless. The Samoan 
puts the burden of amatory success upon the man and 
believes that women need more initiating, more time 
for the maturing of sex feeling. A man who fails to 
satisfy a woman is looked upon as a clumsy, inept blun- 
derer, a fit object for village ridicule and contempt. 
The women in turn are conscious that their lovers use 
a definite technique which they regard with a sort of 




fatalism as if all men had a set of slightly magical, 
wholly irresistible, tricks up their sleeves. But ama- 
tory lore is passed down from one man to another and 
is looked upon much more self-consciously and ana- 
lytically by men than by women. Parents are shy of 
going beyond the bounds of casual conversation (natu- 
rally these are much wider than in our civilisation) in 
the discussion of sex with their children, so that defi- 
nite instruction passes from the man of twenty-five to 
the boy of eighteen rather than from father to son. 
The girls learn from the boys and do very little con- 
fiding in each other. All of a man's associates will 
know every detail of some unusual sex experience while 
the girl involved will hardly have confided the bare 
outlines to any one. Her lack of any confidants except 
relatives towards whom there is always a slight barrier 
of reserve (I have seen a girl shudder away from act- 
ing as an ambassador to her sister) may partly account 
for this. 

The fact that educating one sex in detail and merely 
fortifying the other sex with enough knowledge and 
familiarity with sex to prevent shock produces normal 
sex adjustments is due to the free experimentation 
which is permitted and the rarity with which both 
lovers are amateurs. I knew of only one such case, 
where two children, a sixteen-year-old boy and a 
fifteen-year-old girl, both in boarding schools on an- 
other island, ran away together. Through inexperi- 
ence they bungled badly. They were both expelled 



from school, and the boy is now a man of twenty-four crif<. 
with high intelligence and real .charm, but a notorious 
moetotoloy execrated by every girl in his village. Fa- 
miliarity with sex, and t he recognition of a ne ed of a 
techniqueto dea l with sex as an art, hav e produced a 
sche me of personal r elations in which there are no neu- 
rotic pictures, no frigidity^ no impotence, excep t as the 
temporary result of severe illness, and the capacityTor 
intercourse only once in a night is counted as senility. 
Of the twenty-five girls past puberty, eleven had had 
heterosexual experience. Fala, Tolu, and Namu were 
three cousins who were popular with the youths of 
their own village and also with visitors from distant 
Fitiuta. The women of Fala's family were of easy 
virtue; Tolu's father was dead and she lived with her 
blind mother in the home of Namu's parents, who, 
burdened with six children under twelve years of age, 
were not going to risk losing two efficient workers by 
too close supervision. The three girls made common 
rendezvous with their lovers and their liaisons were 
frequent and gay. Tolu, the eldest, was a little weary 
after three years of casual adventures and professed 
herself willing to marry. She later moved into the 
household of an important chief in order to improve 
her chances of meeting strange youths who might be 
interested In matrimony. Namu was genuinely taken 
with a boy from Fitiuta whom she met in secret while 
a boy of her own village whom her parents favoured 
courted her openly. Occasional assignations with other 



boys of her own village relieved the monotony of life 
between visits from her preferred lover. Fala, the 
youngest, was content to let matters drift. Her lovers 
were friends and relatives of the lovers of her cousins 
and she was still sufficiently childlike and uninvolved 
to get almost as much enjoyment out of her cousins' 
love affairs as out of her own. All three of these girls 
worked hard, doing the full quota of work for an 
adult. All day they fished, washed, worked on the 
plantation, wove mats and blinds. Tolu was exception- 
ally clever at weaving. They were valuable economic 
assets to their families} they would be valuable to the 
husbands whom their families were not over anxious to 
find for them. 

In the next village lived Luna, a lazy good-natured 
girl, three years past puberty. Her mother was dead. 
Her father had married again, but the second wife had 
gone back to her own people. Luna lived for several 
years in the pastor's household and had gone home 
when her stepmother left her father. Her father was 
a very old chief, tremendously preoccupied with his 
prestige and reputation in the village. He held an 
important title j he was a master craftsman} he was the 
best versed man in the village in ancient lore and de- 
tails of ceremonial procedure. His daughter was a 
devoted and efficient attendant. It was enough. Luna 
tired of the younger girls who had been her compan- 
ions in the pastor's household and sought instead two 
young married women among her relatives. One of 



these, a girl who had deserted her husband and was 
living with a temporary successor came to live in Luna's 
household. She and Luna were constant companions, 
and Luna, quite easily and inevitably took one lover, 
then two, then a third — all casual affairs. She dressed 
younger than her years, emphasised that she was still 
a girl. Some day she would marry and be a church 
member, but now: Laititi a^u ("I am but young"). 
And who was she to give up dancing. 

Her cousin Lotu was a church member, and had at- 
tended the missionary boarding school. She had had 
only one accepted lover, the illegitimate son of a chief 
who dared not jeopardise his very slender chance of 
succeeding to his father's title by marrying her. She 
was the eldest of nine children, living in the third 
strictly biological family in the village. She showed 
the effects of greater responsibility at home by a quiet 
maturity and decision of manner, of her school train- 
ing in a greater neatness of person and regard for the 
nicety of detail. Although she was transgressing, the 
older church members charitably closed their eyes, sym- 
pathising with her lover's family dilemma. Her only 
other sex experience had been with a moetotoloy a rela- 
tive. Should her long fidelity to her lover lead to 
pregnancy, she would probably bear the child. (When 
a Samoan woman does wish to avoid giving birth to a 
child, exceedingly violent massage and the chewing of 
kava is resorted to, but this is only in very exceptional 
cases, as even illegitimate children are enthusiastically 



welcomed.) Lotu's attitudes were more considered, 
more sophisticated than those o£ the other girls of her 
age. Had it not been for the precarious social status 
of her lover, she would probably have been married 
already. As it was, she laboured over the care of her 
younger brothers and sisters, and followed the routine 
of relationship duties incumbent upon a young girl in 
the largest family on the island. She reconciled her 
church membership and her deviation from chastity by 
the tranquil reflection that she would have married 
had it been possible, and her sin rested lightly upon 

In the household of one high chief lived the Samoan 
version of our devoted maiden aunts. She was docile, 
efficient, responsible, entirely overshadowed by several 
more attractive girls. To her were entrusted the new- 
born babies and the most difficult diplomatic errands. 
Hard work which she never resented took up all her 
time and energy. When she was asked to dance, she 
did so negligently. Others dancing so much more bril- 
liantly, why make the effort? Hers was the apprecia- 
tive worshipping disposition which glowed over Tolu's 
beauty or Fala's conquests or Alofi's new baby. She 
played the ukulele for others to dance, sewed flower 
necklaces for others to wear, planned rendezvous for 
others to enjoy, without humiliation or a special air of 
martyrdom. She admitted that she had had but one 
lover. He had come from far awayj she didn't even 
know from what village, and he had never come back. 



Yes, probably she would marry some day if her chief 
so willed it, and was that the baby crying? She was 
the stuff of whom devoted aunts are made, depended 
upon and loved by all about her. A malaga to another 
village might have changed her life, for Samoa boys 
sought strange girls merely because they were stran- 
gers. But she was always needed at home by some one 
and younger girls went journeying in her stead. 

Perhaps the most dramatic story was that of Moana, 
the last of the group of girls who lived outside the 
pastors' households, a vain, sophisticated child, spoiled 
by years of trading upon her older half-sister's devo- 
tion. Her amours had begun at fifteen and by the time 
a year and a half had passed, her parents, fearing that 
her conduct was becoming so indiscreet as to seriously 
mar her chances of making a good marriage, asked her 
uncle to adopt her and attempt to curb her wayward- 
ness. This uncle, who was a widower and a sophisti- 
cated rake, when he realised the extent of his niece's 
experience, availed himself also of her complacency. 
This incident, not common in Samoa, because of the 
great lack of privacy and isolation, would have passed 
undetected in this case, if Moana's older sister, Sila, 
had not been in love with the uncle also. This was the 
only example of prolonged and intense passion which 
I found in the three villages. Samoans rate romantic 
fidelity in terms of days or weeks at most, and are in- 
clined to scoff at tales of life-long devotion. (They 
greeted the story of Romeo and Juliet with incredulous 



contempt.) But Sila was devoted to Mutu, her step- 
father's younger brother, to the point of frenzy. She 
had been his mistress and still lived in his household, 
but his dilettantism had veered away from her indeco- 
rous intensity. When she discovered that he had lived 
with her sister, her fury knew no bounds. Masked 
under a deep solicitude for the younger girl, whom 
she claimed was an innocent untouched child, she de- 
nounced Mutu the length of the three villages. 
Moana's parents fetched her home again in a great 
rage and a family feud resulted. Village feeling ran 
high, but opinion was divided as to whether Mutu was 
guilty, Moana lying to cover some other peccadillo or 
Sila gossiping from spite. The incident was in direct 
violation of the brother and sister taboo for Mutu was 
young enough for Moana to speak of him as tuagane 
(brother). But when two months later, another older 
sister died during pregnancy, it was necessary to find 
some one stout-hearted enough to perform the neces- 
sary Csesarian post-mortem operation. After a violent 
family debate, expediency triumphed and Mutu, most 
skilled of native surgeons, was summoned to operate 
on the dead body of the sister of the girl he had vio- 
lated. When he later on announced his intention of 
marrying a girl from another island, Sila again dis- 
played the most uncontrolled grief and despair, al- 
though she herself was carrying on a love affair at the 

The lives of the girls who lived in the pastor's 



household differed from those of their less restricted 
sisters and cousins only in the fact that they had no 
love affairs and lived a more regular and ordered exist- 
ence. For the excitement of moonlight trysts they 
substituted group activities, letting the pleasant friend- 
liness of a group of girls fill their lesser leisure. Their 
Interest in salacious material was slightly stronger than 
the interest of the girls who were free to experiment. 
They made real friends outside their relationship 
group, trusted other girls more, worked better in a 
group, were more at ease with one another but less 
conscious of their place in their own households than 
were the others. 

With the exception of the few cases to be discussed 
in the next chapter, adolescence represented no period 
of crisis or stress, but was Instead an orderly develop- 
ing of a set of slowly maturing Interests and activities. 
The girls' minds were perplexed by no conflicts, trou- 
bled by no philosophical queries, beset by no remote 
ambitions. To live as a girl with many lovers as long 
as possible and then to marry in one's own village, 
near one's own relatives and to have many children, 
these were uniform and satisfying ambitions. 




WERE there no conflicts, no temperaments which 
deviated so markedly from the normal that clash was 
inevitable? Was the diffused affection and the dif- 
fused authority of the large families, the ease of mov- 
ing from one family to another, the knowledge of sex 
and'the Treedom'F6~ experiment a sufficient guar antee 
td~air^moan girls of a perfect adjustment? In al- 
most all cases, yes. But I have reserved for this chap- 
ter the tales of the few girls who deviated i n tern pera- 
ment or in conduct, altlTough Tn many cases these devi- 
ations were~only_chair£ed with posslHilit-ips; nf mnflirtj 
and actually had no painful results. 

The girl between fourteen and twenty stands at the 
centre of household pressure and can expend her irri- 
tation at her elders on those over whom she is in a 
position of authority. The possibility of escape seems 
to temper her restiveness under authority and the irri- 
tation of her elders also. When to the fear of a use- 
ful worker's running away is added also the fear of a 
daughter's indulging in a public elopement, and thus 
lowering her marriage value, any marked exercise of 
parental authority is considerably mitigated. Violen t^ 
outbursts of wrath and summary chastisements do occur 



but consistent and prolonged disciplinary measures are 
absent, and a display of temper is likely to be speedily 
followed by conciliatory measures. This, of course, 
applies only to the relation between a girl and her 
elders. Often conflicts of personality between young 
people of the same age in a household are not so tem- 
pered, but the removal of one party to the conflict, the 
individual with the weakest claims upon the household, 
is here also the most frequent solution. The fact that 
the age-group gang breaks up before adolescence and 
is never resumed except in a highly formal manner, 
coupled with the decided preference for household 
rather than group solidarity, accounts for the scarcity 
of conflict here. The child who shuns her age mates 
is more available for household work and is never wor- 
ried by questions as to why she doesn't run and play 
with the other children. On the other hand, the tol- 
erance of the children in accepting physical defect or 
slight strangeness of temperament prevents any child's 
suffering from undeserved ostracism. 

The child who is unfavourably located in the vil- 
lage is the only real exile. Should the age group last 
over eight or ten years of age, the exiles would cer- 
tainly suffer or very possibly as they grew bolder, ven- 
ture farther from home. But the breakdown of the 
gang just as the children are bold enough and free 
enough to go ten houses from home, prevents either 
of these two results from occurring. 

The absence of any important institutionalised rela- 



tlonship to the community is perhaps the strongest cause 
for lack of conflict here. The community makes no 
demands upon the young girls except for the occasional 
ceremonial service rendered at the meetings of older 
women. Were they delinquent in such duties it would 
be primarily the concern of their own households 
whose prestige would suffer thereby. A boy who re- 
fuses to attend the meetings of the Aumaga, or to join 
in the communal work, comes in for strong group dis- 
approval and hostility, but a girl owes so small a debt 
to her community that it does not greatly concern itself 
to collect it. 

The opportunity to experiment freely, the complete 
familiarity with sex and the absence of very violent 
preferences make her sex experiences less charged with 
possibilities of conflict than they are in a more rigid 
and self-conscious civilisation. Cases of passionate 
jea lousy do occur but they are matters for ex tended 
comment and amazement. During nine months in the 
islands only tour cases came to my attention, a girl 
who informed against a faithless lover accusing him of 
incest, a girl who bit oJ0f part of a rival's ear, a woman 
whose husband had deserted her and who fought and 
severely injured her successor, and a girl who falsely 
accused a rival of stealing. But jealousy is less ex- 
pected and less sympathised with than among us, and 
consequently there is less of a pattern to which an in- 
dividual may respond. Possibly conditions may also 
be simplified by the Samoan recognition and toleration 





of vindictive detraction and growling about a rivaL 
There are no standards of good form which prescribe 
an insincere acceptance of defeat, no insistence on reti- 
cence and sportsmanship. So a great deal of slight 
irritation can be immediately dissipated. Friendships 
are of so casual and shifting a nature that they give 
rise to neither jealousy nor conflict. Resentment is 
expressed by subdued grumblings and any strong re- 
sentment results in the angry one's leaving the house- 
hold or sometimes the village. 

In the girl's religious life the attitude of the mis- 
sionaries was the decisive one. The missionaries require 
chastity for church membership and discouraged church 
membership before marriage, except for the young 
people in the missionary boarding schools who could 
be continually supervised. This passive acceptance by 
the religious authorities themselves of pre-marital ir- 
regularities went a long way towards minimising the 
girls' sense of guilt. Continence became not a passport 
to heaven but a passport to the missionary schools 
which in turn were regarded as a social rather than a 
religious adventure. The girl who indulged in sex 
experiments was expelled from the local pastor's school, 
but it was notable that almost every older girl in the 
community, including the most notorious sex offenders, 
had been at one time resident in the pastors' house- 
holds. The general result of the stricter supervision 
provided by these schools seemed to be to postpone the 
first sex experience two or three years. The seven girls 



in the household of one native pastor, the three in the 
household of the other, were all, although past puberty, 
living continent lives, in strong contrast to the habits 
of the rest of their age mates. 

It might seem that there was fertile material for 
conflict between parents who wished their children to 
live in the pastor's house and children who did not 
wish to do so, and also between children who wished 
it and parents who did not.* This conflict was chiefly 
reduced by the fact that residence in the pastor's house 
actually made very little difference in the child's status 
in her own home. She simply carried her roll of mats, 
her pillow and her mosquito net from her home to the 
pastor's, and the food which she would have eaten at 
home was added to the quota of the food which her 
family furnished to the pastor. She ate her evening 
meal and slept at the pastor's j one or two days a week 
she devoted to working for the pastor's family, wash- 
ing, weaving, weeding and sweeping the premises. The 
rest of her time she spent at home performing the 
usual tasks of a girl of her age, so that it was seldom 
that a parent objected strongly to sending a child to 
the pastor's. It involved no additional expense and 
was likely to reduce the chances of his daughter's con- 
duct becoming embarrassing, to improve her mastery 
of the few foreign techniques, sewing, ironing, em- 
broidery, which she could learn from the more skilled 
and schooled pastor's wife and thus increase her eco- 
nomic value. 

*See Appendix, page 257. 



If, on the other hand, the parents wished their chil- 
dren to stay and the children were unwilling to do so, 
the remedy was simple. They had but to transgress 
seriously the rules of the pastor's household, and they 
would be expelled J if they feared to return to their i 
parents, there were always other relatives. 

So the attitude of the church in respect to chastity 
held only the germs of a conflict which was seldom 
realised, because of the flexibility with which it adapted 
itself to the nearly inevitable. Attendance at the girls' 
main boarding school was an attractive prospect. The 
fascination of living in a large group of young people 
where life was easier and more congenial than at home, 
was usually a sufficient bribe to good behaviour, or at 
least to discretion. Confession of sin was a rare phe- 
nomenon in Samoa. The missionaries had made a rule 
that a boy who transgressed the chastity rule would be 
held back in his progress through the preparatory 
school and seminary for two years after the time his 
offence was committed. It had been necessary to change 
this ruling to read two years from the detection of the 
ojfencey because very often the off^ence was not de- 
tected until after the student had been over two years! 
in the seminary, and under the old ruling, he would 
not have been punished at all. Had the young people 
been inspired with a sense of responsibility to a heav- 
enly rather than an earthly decree and the boy or girl 
been answerable to a recording angel, rather than a 
spying neighbour, religion would have provided a real 



setting for conflict. If such an attitude had been cou- 
pled with emphasis upon church membership for the 
young and an expectation of religious experience in the 
lives of the young, crises in the lives of the young 
people would very likely have occurred. As it is, the 
whole religious setting is one of formalism, of com- 
promise, of acceptance of half measure. The great 
number of native pastors with their peculiar interpreta- 
tions of Christian teaching have made it impossible to 
establish the rigour of western Protestantism with its 
inseparable association of sex offences and an individual 
consciousness of sin. And the girls upon whom the 
religious setting makes no demands, make no demands 
upon it. They are content to follow the advice of their 
elders to defer church membership until they are older. 
Laitki d*u. Fia siva ("For I am young and like to 
dance"). The church member is forbidden to dance or 
to witness a large night dance. One of the three vil- 
lages boasted no girl church members. The second 
village had only one, who had, however, long since 
transgressed her vows. But as her lover was a youth 
whose equivocal position in his family made it impos- 
sible to marry, the neighbours did not tattle where 
their sympathies were aroused, so Lotu remained tacitly 
a church member. In the third village there were two 
unmarried girls who were church members, Lita and 

Lita had lived for years in the pastor's household and 
with one other girl, showed most clearly the results of 



a slightly alien environment. She was clever and 
executive, preferred the society of girls to that of boys, 
had made the best of her opportunities to learn Eng- 
lish, worked hard at school, and wished to go to Tutuila 
and become a nurse or a teacher. Her ideals were thus 
just such as might frequently be found from any ran- 
dom selection of girls in a freshman class in a girls' col- 
lege in this country. She coupled this set of individual 
ambitions with a very unusual enthusiasm for a pious 
father, and complied easily with his expressed wish for 
her to become a church member. After she left the 
pastor's household, she continued to go to school and 
apply herself vigorously to her studies, and her one 
other interest in life was a friendship with an older 
cousin who spoke some English and had had superior 
educational advantages in another island. Although 
this friendship had most of the trappings of a "crush" 
and was accompanied by the casual homosexual practices 
which are the usual manifestations of most associations 
between young people of the same sex, Lita's motivation 
was more definitely ambition, a desire to master every 
accessible detail of this alien culture in which she wished 
to find a place. 

Sona, who was two years younger than Lita and had 
also lived for several years in the pastor's household, 
presented a very similar picture. She was overbearing 
in manner, arbitrary and tyrannous towards younger 
people, impudently deferential towards her elders. 
Without exceptional intellectual capacity she had excep- 


tional persistence and had forced her way to the head of 
the school by steady dogged application. Lita, more 
intelligent and more sensitive, had left school for one 
year because the teacher beat her and Sona had passed 
above her, although she was definitely more stupid. 
Sona came from another island. Both her parents were 
dead and she lived in a large, heterogeneous household, 
at the beck and call of a whole series of relatives. Intent 
on her own ends, she was not enthusiastic about all this 
labour and was also unenthusiastic about most of her 
relatives. But one older cousin, the most beautiful girl 
in the village, had caught her imagination. This cousin, 
Manita, was twenty-seven and still unmarried. She had 
had many suitors and nearly as many lovers but she was 
of a haughty and aggressive nature and men whom she 
deemed worthy of her hand were wary of her sophisti- 
cated domineering manner. By unanimous vote she was 
the most beautiful girl in the village. Her lovely 
golden hair had contributed to half a dozen ceremonial 
headdresses. Her strategic position in her own family 
was heightened by the fact that her uncle, who had no 
hereditary right to make a taupOy had declared Manita 
to be his tawpo. There was no other taupo in the vil- 
lage to dispute her claim. The murmurings were dying 
out J the younger children spoke of her as a taupo with- 
out suspicion 5 her beauty and ability as a dancer made it 
expedient to thus introduce her to visitors. Her family 
did not press her to marry, for the longer she remained 
unmarried, the stronger waxed the upstart legend. 




Her last lover had been a widowe;', a talking chief of 
intelligence and charm. He had loved Manita but he 
would not marry her. She lacked the docility which he 
demanded in a wife. Leaving Manita he searched in 
other villages for some very young girl whose manners 
were good but whose character was as yet unformed. 

All this had a profound effect upon Sona, the ugly 
little stranger over whose lustreless eyes cataracts were 
already beginning to form. "Her sister" has no use for 
marriage j neither had she, Sona. Essentially unfemi- 
nine in outlook, dominated by ambition, she bolstered 
up her preference for the society of girls and a career 
by citing the example of her beautiful, wilful cousin. 
Without such a sanction she might have wavered in her 
ambitions, made so difficult by her already failing eye- 
sight. As it was she went forward, blatantly proclaim- 
ing her pursuit of ends different from those approved 
by her fellows. Sona and Lita were not friends j the 
difference in their sanctions was too great; their pro- 
ficiency at school and an intense rivalry divided them. 
Sona was not a church member. It would not have 
interfered with her behaviour in the least but it was part 
of her scheme of life to remain a school girl as long as 
possible and thus fend off responsibilities. So she, as 
often as the others, would answer, Laititi a^u ("I am 
but young"). While Lita attached herself to her cousin 
and attempted to learn from her every detail of another 
life, Sona identified herself passionately with the 
slightly more Europeanlsed family of the pastor, assert- 



ing always their greater relationship to the new civilisa- 
tion, calling loane's wife, Mrs. Johns, building up a 
pitiable platform of fafalagi (foreign) mannerisms as 
a springboard for future activities. 

There was one other girl church member of Siufaga, 
Ana, a girl of nineteen. Her motives were entirely 
diflFerent. She was of a mild, quiescent nature, highly 
intelligent, very capable. She was the illegitimate child 
of a chief by a mother who had later married, run away, 
married again, been divorced, and finally gone oflF to 
another island. She formed no tie for Ana. Her 
father was a widower, living in a brother's house and 
Ana had been reared in the family of another brother. 
This family approximated to a biological onej there 
were two married daughters older than Ana, a son near 
her age, a daughter of fourteen and a crowd of little 
children. The father was a gentle, retiring man who 
had built his house outside the village, "to escape from 
the noise," he said. The two elder daughters married 
young and went away to live in their husbands' house- 
holds. Ana and her boy cousin both lived in the pastor's 
household, while the next younger girl slept at home. 
The mother had a great distrust of men, especially of 
the young men of her own village. Ana should grow 
up to marry a pastor. She was not strong enough for 
the heavy work of the average Samoan wife. Her 
aunt's continuous harping on this strain, which was 
prompted mainly by a dislike of Ana's mother and a 
fear of the daughter's leaving home to follow in her 



mother's footsteps, had convinced Ana that she was a 
great deal too delicate for a normal existence. This 
theory received complete verification in the report of 
the doctor who examined the candidates for the nursing 
school and rejected her because of a heart murmur. 
Ana, influenced by her aunt's gloomy foreboding, was 
now convinced that she was too frail to bear children, or 
at least not more than one child at some very distant 
date. She became a church member, gave up dancing, 
clung closer to the group of younger girls in the pastor's 
school and to her foster home, the neurasthenic product 
of a physical defect, a small, isolated family group and 
the pastor's school. 

These girls all represented the deviants from the 
pattern in one direction j they were those who demanded 
a different or improved environment, who rejected the 
traditional choices. At any time, they, like all deviants, 
might come into real conflict with the group. That they 
did not was an accident of environment. The younger 
girls in the pastor's group as yet showed fewer signs of 
being influenced by their slightly artificial environment. 
They were chaste where they would not otherwise have 
been chaste, they had friends outside their relationship 
group whom they would otherwise have viewed with 
suspicion, they paid more attention to their lessons. 
They still had not acquired a desire to substitute any 
other career for the traditional one of marriage. This 
was, of course, partly due to the fact that the pastor's 
school was simply one influence in their lives. The girls 



still spent the greater proportion of their waking time at 
home amid conventional surroundings. Unless a girl 
was given some additional stimulus, such as unusual 
home conditions, or possessed peculiarities of tempera- 
ment, she was likely to pass through the school essen- 
tially unchanged in her fundamental view of life. She 
would acquire a greater respect for the church, a pref- 
erence for slightly more fastidious living, greater confi- 
dence in other girls. At the same time the pastor's 
school offered a sufficient contrast to traditional Samoan 
life to furnish the background against which deviation 
could flourish. Girls who left the village and spent 
several years in the boarding school under the tutelage 
of white teachers were enormously influenced. Many 
of them became nurses j the majority married pastors, 
usually a deviation in attitude, involving as it did, 
acceptance of a different style of living. 

So, while religion itself offered little field for con- 
flict^ the institutions promoted by religion might act as 
stimuli to' new choices and when sufficiently reinforced 
by other conditions might produce a type of girl who 
deviated markedly from her companions*". That the 
majority of Samoan girls are still unaffected by thesef 
influences and pursue uncritically the traditional mode 
of life is simply a testimony to the resistance of the 
native culture, which in' its present slightly Euro- 
peanised state, is replete with easy solutions for all con- 
flicts} and to the apparent fact that adolescent girls in 



Samoa do not generate their own conflicts, but require a' 
vigorous stimulus to produce them. 

These conflicts which have been discussed are con- 
flicts of children who deviate upwards, who wish to 
exercise more choice than is traditionally permissible, 
and who, in making their choices, come to unconven- 
tional and bizarre solutions. The untraditional choices 
which are encouraged by the educational system inaugu- 
rated by the missionaries are education and the pursuit 
of a career and marriage outside of the local group (in 
the case of native pastors, teachers and nurses), prefer- 
rence for the society of one's own sex through prolonged 
and close association in school, a self-conscious evalua- 
tion of existence, and the consequent making of self- 
conscious choices. All of these make for increased spe- 
cialisation, increased sophistication, greater emphasis 
upon individuality, where an individual makes a con- 
scious choice between alternate or opposing lines of 
conduct. In the case of this group of girls, it is evident 
that the mere presentation of conflicting choices was not 
sufficient but that real conflict required the yeast of a 
need for choice and in addition a culturally favourable 
batter in which to work. 

It will now be necessary to discuss another type of 
deviant, the deviant in a downward direction, or the 
delinquent. I am using the term delinquent to describe 
the individual who is maladjusted to the demands of 
her civilisation, and who comes definitely into conflict 



with her group, not because she adheres to a diflferent 
standard, but because she violates the group standards 
which are also her own.* 

A Samoan family or a Samoan community might 
easily come to conceive the conduct and standards of 
Sona and Lita as anti-social and undesirable. Each was 
following a plan of life which would not lead to mar- 
riage and children. Such a choice on the part of the 
females of any human community is, of course, likely to 
be frowned upon. The girls who, responding to the 
same stimuli, follow Sona's and Lita's example in the 
future will also run this risk. 

But were there really delinquent girls in this little 
primitive village, girls who were incapable of develop- 

* Such a distinction might well be made in the attitude towards 
delinquency in our own civilisation. Delinquency cannot be de- 
fined even within one culture in terms of acts alone, but attitudes 
should also be considered. Thus the child who rifles her mother's 
purse to get money to buy food for a party or clothes to wear to 
a dance hall, who believes stealing is wrong, but cannot or will not 
resist the temptation to steal, is a delinquent, if the additional legal 
definition is given to her conduct by bringing her before some judi- 
cial authority. The young Christian communist who gives away her 
own clothes and also those of her brothers and sisters may be a 
menace to her family and to a society based upon private property, 
but she is not delinquent in the same sense. She has simply chosen 
an alternative standard. The girl who commits sex ofifences with 
all attendant shame, guilt, and inability to defend herself from be- 
coming continually more involved in a course of action which she 
is conscious is "wrong," until she becomes a social problem as an 
unmarried mother or a prostitute, is, of course, delinquent. The 
young advocate of free love who possesses a full quiver of ideals 
and sanctions for her conduct, may be undesirable, but from the 
standpoint of this discussion, she is not delinquent. 



ing new standards and incapable of adjusting them- 
selves to the old ones? My group included two girls 
who might be so described, one girl who was just reach- 
ing puberty, the other a girl two years past puberty. 
Their delinquency was not a new phenomenon, but in 
both cases dated back several years. The members of 
their respective groups unhesitatingly pronounced them 
"bad girls," their age mates avoided them, and their 
relatives regretted them. As the Samoan village had 
no legal machinery for dealing with such cases, these are 
the nearest parallels which it is possible to draw with 
our "delinquent girl," substituting definite conflict with 
unorganised group disapproval for the conflict with the 
law which defines delinquency in our society. 

Lola was seventeen, a tall, splendidly developed, in- 
telligent hoyden. She had an unusual endowment in 
her capacity for strong feeling, for enthusiasms, for 
violent responses to individuals. Her father had died 
when she was a child and she had been reared in a head- 
less house. Her father's brother who was the matai 
had several houses and he had scattered his large group 
of dependants in several different parts of the village. 
So Lola, two older sisters, two younger sisters, and a 
brother a year older, were brought up by their mother, 
a kindly but ineffective woman. The eldest sister mar- 
ried and left the village when Lola was eight. The 
next sister, Sami, five years older than Lola, was like 
her mother, mild and gentle, with a soft undercurrent 
of resentment towards life running through all her 



quiet words. She resented and disliked her younger 
sister but she was no macch for her. Nito, her brother, 
was a high-spirited and intelligent youth who might 
have taught his sister a little wisdom had it not been 
for the brother and s'lsttr taboo which kept them always 
upon a formal footing. Aso, two years younger, was 
like Sami without Sami's sullen resentment. She 
adopted the plan of keeping out of Lola's way. The 
youngest, Siva, was like Lola, intelligent, passionate, 
easily aroused, but she was only eleven and merely 
profited by her sister's bad example. Lola was quarrel- 
some, insubordinate, impertinent. She contended every 
point, objected to every request, shirked her work, 
fought with her sisters, mocked her mother, went about 
the village with a chip upon her shoulder. When she 
was fourteen, she became so unmanageable at home that 
her uncle sent her to live in the pastor's household. She 
stayed there through a year of stormy scenes until she 
was finally expelled after a fight with Mala, the other 
delinquent. That she was not expelled sooner was out 
of deference to her rank as the niece of a leading chief. 
Her uncle realised the folly of sending her back to her 
mother. She was almost sixteen and well developed 
physically; and could be expected to add sex offences to 
the list of her troublesome activities at any moment. 
He took her to live in his own household under the 
supervision of his very strong-minded, executive wife, 
Pusa. Lola stayed there almost a year. It was a more 
interesting household than any in which she had lived. 



Her uncle's rank made constant calls upon her. She 
learned to make kava well, to dance with greater ease 
and mastery. A trip to Tutuila relieved the monotony 
of life J two cousins from another island came to visit, 
and there was much gaiety about the house. As con- 
sciousness of sex became more acute, she became slightly 
subdued and tentative in her manner. Pusa was a hard 
task master and for a while Lola seemed to enjoy the 
novelty of a strong will backed by real authority. 
But the novelty wore oflF. The cousins prolonged their 
visit month after month. They persisted in treating 
her as a child. She became bored, sullen, jealous. 
Finally she ran away to other relatives, a very high 
chief's family, in the next village. Here, temporarily, 
was another house group of women folk, as the head of 
the house was in Tutuila, and his wife, his mother and 
his two children were the only occupants of the great 
guest house. Lola's labour was welcomed, and she set 
herself to currying favour with the high chief of the 
family. At first this was quite easy, as she had run 
away from the household of a rival chief and he appre- 
ciated her public defection. There were only much 
younger or much older girls in his household. Lola 
received the attention which she craved. The little 
girls resented her, but secretly admired her dashing 
uncompromising manner. But she had only been estab- 
lished here about a month when another chief, with a 
young and beautiful taupo in his train, came to visit 
her new chief and the whole party was lodged in the 



very house where she slept. Now began an endless 
round of hospitable tasks, and worst of all she must wait 
upon the pretty stranger who was a year younger than 
herself, but whose rank as visiting taufo gave her prec- 
edence. Lola again became troublesome. She quar- 
relled with the younger girls, was impertinent to the 
older ones, shirked her work, talked spitefully against 
the stranger. Perhaps all of this might have been only 
temporary and had no more far-reaching results than a 
temporary lack of favour in her new household, had it 
not been for a still more unfortunate event. The Don 
Juan of the village was a sleek, discreet man of about 
forty, a widower, a mataiy a man of circumspect manner 
and winning ways. He was looking for a second wife 
and turned his attention toward the visitor who was 
lodged in the guest house of the next village. But 
Fuativa was a cautious and calculating lover. He 
wished to look over his future bride carefully and so he 
visited her house casually, without any declaration of 
his intention. And he noticed that Lola had reached a 
robust girlhood and stopped to pluck this ready fruit 
by the way, while he was still undecided about the more 
serious business of matrimony. 

With all her capacity for violence, Lola possessed 
also a strong capacity for affection. Fuativa was a 
skilled and considerate lover. Few girls were quite so 
fortunate in their first lovers, and so few felt such un- 
mixed regret when the first love affair was broken off. 
Fuativa won her easily and after three weeks which 



were casual to him, and very important to her, he pro- 
posed for the hand of the visitor. The proposal itself 
might not have so completely enraged Lola although 
her pride was sorely wounded. Still, plans to marry a 
bride from such a great distance might miscarry. But 
the affiaiiced girl so obviously demurred from the mar- 
riage that the talking chiefs became frightened. Fua- 
tiva was a rich man and the marriage ceremony would 
bring many perquisites for the talking chief. If the girl 
was allowed to go home and plead with her parents, or 
given the opportunity to elope with some one else, there 
would be no wedding perhaps and no rewards. The 
public defloration ceremony is forbidden by law. That 
the bridegroom was a government employe would fur- 
ther complicate his position should he break the law. 
So the anxious talking chief and the anxious suitor made 
their plans and he was given access to his future bride. 
The rage of Lola was unbounded and she took an im- 
mediate revenge, publicly accusing her rival of being a 
thief and setting the whole village by the ears. The 
women of the host household drove her out with many 
imprecations and she fled home to her mother, thus 
completing the residence cycle begun four years ago. 
She was now in the position of the delinquen: in our 
society. She had continuously violated the group, 
standards and she had exhausted all the solutions open: 
to her. No other family group would open its doors to 
a girl whose record branded her as a liar, a trouble 
maker, a fighter, and a thief, for her misdeeds included 



continual petty thievery. Had she quarrelled with a 
father or been outraged by a brother-in-law, a refuge 
would have been easy to find. But her personality was 
essentially unfortunate. In her mother's household she 
made her sisters miserable, but she did not lord it over 
them as she had done before. She was sullen, bitter, 
vituperative. The young people of the village branded 
her as the possessor of a lotu le aga, ("a bad heart") 
and she had no companions. Her young rival left the 
island to prepare for her wedding, or the next chapter 
might have been Lola's doing her actual physical vio- 
lence. When I left, she was living, idle, sullen, and 
defiant in her long-suifering mother's house. 

Mala's sins were slightly otherwise. Where Lola 
was violent, Mala was treacherous j where Lola was 
antagonistic. Mala was insinuating. Mala was younger, 
having just reached puberty in January, the middle of 
my stay on the island. She was a scrawny, ill-favoured 
little girl, always untidily dressed. Her parents were 
dead and she lived with her uncle, a sour, disgruntled 
man of small position. His wife came from another 
village and disliked her present home. The marriage 
was childless. The only other member of the house 
group was another niece who had divorced her hus- 
band. She also was childless. None showed Mala any 
affection, and they worked her unmercifully. The life 
of the only young girl or boy in a Samoan house, in the 
very rare cases when it occurs, is always very difficult. 
In this case it was doubly so. Ordinarily other relatives 



in the neighbourhood would have handed their babies 
over to her care, giving her a share in the activities of 
happier and more populous households. But from her 
early childhood she had been branded as a thief, a 
dangerous charge in a country where there are no doors 
or locks, and houses are left empty for a day at a time. 
Her first offence had been to steal a foreign toy which 
belonged to the chief's little son. The irate mother 
had soundly berated the child, on boat day, on the beach 
where all the people were gathered. When her name 
was mentioned, the information that she was a thief 
and a liar was tacked on as casually as was the remark 
that another was cross-eyed or deaf. Other children 
avoided her. Next door lived Tino, a dull good child, 
a few months younger than Mala. Ordinarily these 
two would have been companions and Mala always in- 
sisted that Tino was her friend, but Tino indignantly 
disclaimed all association with her. And as if her repu- 
tation for thievery were not sufficient, she added a fur- 
ther misdemeanour. She played with boys, preferred 
boys' games, tied her lavalava like a boy. This be- 
haviour was displayed to the whole village who were 
vociferous in their condemnation. "She really was a 
very bad girl. She stole j she liedj and she played 
with boys." As in other parts of the world, the whole 
odium fell on the girl, so the boys did not fight shy of 
her. They teased her, bullied her, used her as general 
errand boy and fag. Some of the more precocious boys 
of her own age were already beginning to look to her 



for possibilities of other forms of amusement. Prob- 
ably she will end by giving her favours to whoever asks 
for them, and sink lower and lower in the village esteem 
and especially in the opinion of her own sex from whom 
she so passionately desires recognition and affection. 
I Lola and Mala both seemed to be the victims of lack 
if of affection. They both had unusual capacity for devo- 
II tion and were abnormally liable to become jealous. 
Both responded with pathetic swiftness to any mani- 
festations of affection. At one end of the scale in their 
need for affection, they were unfortunately placed at 
the other end in their chance of receiving it. Lola had 
a double handicap in her unfortunate temperament and 
the greater amiability of her three sisters. Her tem- 
peramental defects were further aggravated by the 
absence of any strong authority in her immediate house- 
hold. Sami, the docile sister, had been saddled with the 
care of the younger children j Lola, harder to control, 
was given no such saving responsibility. These condi- 
tions were all as unusual as her demand and capacity 
for affection. And, similarly, seldom were children as 
desolate as Mala, marooned in a household of un- 
sympathetic adults. So it would appear that their de- 
linquency was produced by the combination of two sets 
of casual factors, unusual emotional needs and unusual 
home conditions. Less affectionate children in the same 
environments, or the same children in more favourable 
surroundings, probably would never have become as 
definitely outcast as these. 



Only one other girl in the three villages calls for 
consideration under this conce ption o f delin quency and 
she received far less general condemnation than either 
of the others. This was Sala, who lived in the third 
village. She lived in a household of seven, consisting 
of her widowed mother, her younger brother of ten, 
her grandmother, her uncle and his wife, and their 
two-year-old son. This presented a fairly well-bal- 
anced family group and there were in addition many 
other relatives close by. Sala had been sent to live in 
the pastor's house but had speedily got involved in sex 
offences and been expelled. Her attitude towards this 
pastor was still one of unveiled hostility. She was 
stupid, underhanded, deceitful and she possessed no 
aptitude for the simplest mechanical tasks. Her inept- 
ness was the laughing stock of the village and her lovers 
were many and casual, the fathers of illegitimate chil- 
dren, men whose wives were temporarily absent, wit- 
less boys bent on a frolic. It was a saying among the 
girls of the village that Sala was apt at only_one art, 
sex, and that she, who couldn't even sew thatch or 
weave blinds, would never get a husband. The social 
attitude towards her was one of contempt, rather than 
of antagonism, and she had experienced it keenly 
enough to have sunk very low in her own eyes. She 
had a sullen furtive manner, lied extravagantly in her 
assertions of skill and knowledge, and was ever on 
the alert for slights and possible innuendoes. She came 
into no serious conflict with her community. Her father 



beat her occasionally in a half-hearted manner, but her 
stupidity was her salvation for the Samoan possesses 
more charity towards weakness than towards mis- 
directed strength. Sooner or later Sala's random sex 
experiences will probably lead to pregnancy, resulting 
in a temporary restriction of her activities and a much 
greater dependency upon her family. This economic 
dependence which in her case will be reinforced by her 
lack of manual skill will be strong enough to give her 
family a whip hand over her and force her to at least 
moderate her experimentation. She may not marry for 
many years and possibly will always be rated too in- 
efficient for such responsibility. 

The only delinquent in the making, that is a child 
who showed marked possibilities of increasing mis- 
behaviour, was Siva, Lola's eleven-year-old little sis- 
ter. She had the same obstreperous nature and was 
always engaging in fist fights with the other children, 
or hurling deadly insults after fleeing backs. She Jiad 
the same violent craving for affection. But her uncle, 
profiting by her sister's unfortunate development, had 
taken her at the age of ten into his immediate family 
and so she was spending her pre-adolescent years under 
a much firmer regime than had her sister. And she 
differed from her sister in one respect, which was 
likely to prove her salvation. Where Lola had no sense 
of humour and no lightness of touch, Siva had both. 
She was a gifted mimic, an excruciatingly funny dancer, 
a born comedian. People forgave her her violence and 



her quarrelsomeness for sheer mirth over her propitia- 
tory antics. If this facility continues to endear her to 
her aunts and cousins, who already put up with any 
number of pranks and fits of temper from her, she will 
probably not follow in her sister's steps. One affection- 
ate word makes her shift her attention, and she has a 
real gift for affection. Once at a dancing party I had 
especially requested the children to be good and not 
waste time in endless bickerings and jealousies. I 
selected three little girls, the traditional number, to 
dance, and one of them, Meta, claimed that she had a 
sore foot. I turned hastily to Siva and asked her to 
fill out the figure. She was preparing to do so, with 
none too good grace at being second choice, when Meta, 
who had merely been holding back for more urging, 
leaped to her feet, and took the empty place. Siva was 
doubling up her fists ready to fly at M eta's throat when 
she caught my eye. She swallowed furiously, and then 
jerked the flower wreath from around her own neck and 
flung it over Meta's head. With better luck than her 
sister, she will not come into lasting conflict with her 

And here ends the tale of serious conflict or serious 
deviation from group standards. The other girls varied 
as to whether they were subjected to the superior super- 
vision of the pastor's household or not, as to whether 
they came from households of rank or families of small 
prestige, and most of all as to whether they lived in a 
biological family or a large heterogeneous household. 



I ii But with differences in temperament equal to those 

*| found among us, though with a possibly narrower range 
; of intellectual ability, they showed a surprising uni- 
formity of knowledge, skill and attitude, and presented 
a picture of orderly, regular development in a flexible, 
but strictly delimited, environment. 




BECAUSE the community makes no distinction be- 
tween unmarried girls and the wives of untitled men in | 
the demands which it makes upon them, and because 
there is seldom any difference in sex experience between 
the two groups, the dividing line falls not between mar- 
ried and unmarried but between grown women and 
growing girls in industrial activity and between the 
wives of matals and their less important sisters in cere- 
monial affairs. The girl of twenty-two or twenty-three 
who is still unmarried loses her laissez faire attitude. 
Family pressure is an effective cause in bringing about 
this change. She is an adult, as able as her married 
sisters and her brothers' young wives j she is expected 
to contribute as heavily as they to household under- 
takings. She lives among a group of contemporaries 
upon whom the responsibilities of marriage are making 
increased demands. Rivalry and emulation enter in. 
And also she may be becoming a little anxious about 
her own marital chances. The first preoccupation with 
sex experimentation has worn itself out and she settles 
down to increase her value as a wife. In native theory 
a girl knows how to sew thatch, but doesn't really make 
thatch until she is married. In actual practice the adult 



i I unmarried girls perform household and agricultural 
'/tasks identical with those performed by their married 
' sisters, except that whereas pregnancy and nursing chil- 
dren tie the young married women to the house, the 
unmarried girls are free to go off on long fish- 
ing expeditions, or far inland in search of weaving 

A married couple may live either in the household of 
the girl or of the boy, choice being made on the basis 
of rank, or the industrial needs of the two households. 
The change of residence makes much less difference to 
the girl than to the boy. A married woman's life is 
lived in such a narrow sphere that her only associates 
are the women of her household. Residence in her 
husband's village instead of her own does not narrow 
her life, for her participation in village affairs will 
remain slight and unimportant until her husband 
assumes a title which confers status upon her also. If 
her husband's household is in her own village, her 
responsibilities will be increased somewhat because she 
will be subject to continual demands from her own 
near relatives as well as from those of her husband. 

There is no expectation of conflict between daughter- 
in-law and mother-in-law. The mother-in-law must 
be respected because she is an elder of the household 
and an insolent daughter-in-law is no more tolerated 
than an insubordinate daughter or niece. But tales of 
the traditional lack of harmony which exists in our 
civilisation were treated by the Samoans with con- 



temptuous amusement. Where the emotional ties be- 
tween parents and children are so weak, it was impos- 
sible to make them see it as an issue between a man's 
mother and man's wife, in which jealousy played a 
part. They saw it simply as failure on the part of the 
young and unimportant person to pay proper respect 
to the old, granting of course that there were always 
irascible old people from whom it was expedient to 
move away. The same thing holds true for the young 
man, if he goes to live in his father-in-law's house. If 
the father-in-law is the mataiy he has complete authority 
over his daughter's husband} if he is only an untitled 
old man, he must still be treated with respect. 

But change of village for the young man makes a 
great difference, because he must take his place in a 
new Aumaga, and work with strangers instead of with 
the"^ys with whom he has worked and played since 
childhood. Very often he never becomes as thoroughly 
assimilated to the new group as he was to the old. He 
stands more upon his dignity. He works with his new 
companions but does not play with them. The social 
life of the Aumaga centres about the group courtesies 
which they pay to visiting girls. In his own village 
a man will accompany the younger boys on these occa- 
sions for many years after he is married. But in his 
wife's village, such behaviour becomes suddenly less 
appropriate. Random amatory adventures are also 
more hazardous when he is living as a member of his 
wife's household. And although his transition from 



the status of a young man to the status of a matai is 
easier, he ages more quickly j although he may earn 
great respect in his adopted village, he commands 
less of its affection. 

■In most marriages there is no sense of setting up a 
new and separate establishment. The change is felt in 
the change of residence for either husband or wife and 
in the reciprocal relations which spring up between the 
two families. But the young couple live in the main 
household, simply receiving a bamboo pillow, a mos- 
quito net and a pile of mats for their bed. Only for 
(Ithe chief or the chief's son is a new house built. The 
(wife works with all the women of the household and 
waits upon all the men. The husband shares the enter- 
prises of the other men and boys. Neither in personal 
service given or received are the two marked off as a 
unit. Nor does marriage of either brother or sister 
slacken the avoidance rules j it merely adds another 
individual, the new sister or brother-in-law, to whom 
the whole series of avoidances must be applied. In the 
sexual relation alone are the two treated as one. For 
even in the care of the young children and in the de- 
cisions as to their future, the uncles and aunts and 
grandparents participate as fully as the parents. It is 
only when a man is matai as well as father, that he has 
control over his own children j and when this is so, the 
relationship is blurred in opposite fashion, for he has 
the same control over many other young people who 
are less closely related to him. 



The pregnant young wife is surrounded by a multi- 
tude of taboos, most of which are prohibitions against 
solitary activities. She must not walk alone, sit alone, 
dance alone, gather food alone, eat alone, or when 
only her husband is present. All of these taboos are 
explained by the amiable doctrine that only things 
which are wrong are done in solitude and that any 
wrong deed committed by the expectant mother will -v 
injure the child. It seems simpler to prohibit solitary 
acts than wrong ones. There are also ghosts which are,,^- 
particularly likely to injure the pregnant woman, and 
she is warned against walking in ghost-ridden places. 
She is warned against doing too heavy work and against 
getting chilled or overheated. While pregnancy is not 
treated with anything like the consideration which is 
often given it here, her first pregnancy gives a womaft j^ 
a certain amount of social prominence. This promi- 
nence is in direct proportion to her rank, and the young 
wife whose child is the presumptive heir to some high 
title is watched over with great solicitude. Relatives 
gather from great distances for the confinement and 
birth feast, which is described as the mother's feast, 
rather than the feast in honour of either child or father. 

After the birth of the first child, the other children 
arrive frequently and with small remark. Old gossips 
count them and comment on the number living, dead or 
miscarried in previous births. A pig is roasted for the 
birth feast to which only the near relatives are invited. 
The mother of many children is rather taken for 



granted than praised. The barren woman is mildly 
^ execrated and her misfortune attributed to loose living. 
There were three barren older women on Tauj all 
three were midwives and reputed to be very wise. Now 
well past the child-bearing age, they were reaping the 
reward of the greater application to the intricacies of 
their calling with which they had compensated for their 

The young married women of twenty to thirty are a 
bu sy, chee rful group. They become church members 
and wear hats to church. When they have not a baby 
at the breast, they are doing heavy work on the planta- 
tions, fishing or making tapa. No other important 
event will ever happen to them again. If their hus- 
bands die, they will probably take new husbands, and 
those of lower rank. If their husbands become mataisj 
they will also acquire a place in the fono of the women. 
But it is only the woman with a flair for political wire- 
, pulling and the luck to have either important relatives 
or an important husband who gets any real satisfaction 
out of the social organisation of the village. 

The young men do not settle as early into a groove. 
What her first child is to a woman his title is to a man, 
and while each new child is less of an event in her life, 
a new title is always a higher one and a greater event 
in his. A man rarely attains his first title before he is 

S thirty, often not before he is forty. All the years be- 
tween his entrance into the Aumaga and his entrance 
' into the Fono are years of striving. He cannot acquire 


^ s 


a reputation and then rest upon it or another claimant 
to the same title will take advantage of his indolence 
and pass him in the race. One good catch of fish does 
not make him a fisherman nor one housebeam neatly 
adzed, a carpenter j the whole emphasis is upon a steady 
demonstration of increasing skill which will be earnest 
of the necessary superiority over his fellows. Only the 
lazy, the shiftless, the ambitionless fail to respond to 
this competition. The one exception to this is in the 
case of the son or heir of the high chief who may be 
made the manaia at twenty. But here his high rank 
has already subjected him to more rigorous discipline 
and careful training than the other youths, and as 
manaia y he is the titular head of the Aumaga, and must 
lead it well or lose his prestige. 

Once having acquired a matai name and entered the 
FonOy differences in temperament prevail. The matai 
name he receives may be a very small one, carrying with 
it no right to a post in the council house, or other pre- 
rogatives. It may be so small that matai though he is, 
he does not try to command a household, but lives in- 
stead in the shadow of some more important relative. 
But he will be a member of the FonOy classed with the 
elders of the village, and removed forever from the 
hearty group activities of the young men. Should he 
become a widower and wish to court a new wife, he can 
only do so by laying aside his m^atai name and enter- 
ing her house under the fiction that he is still a youth. 
His main preoccupation is the affairs of the village j his 



main diversion, hours spent in ceremonious argument 
in some meeting. He always carries his bundle of 
. beaten cocoanut fibre and as he talks, he rolls the fibres 
/ together on his bare thigh. 

The less ambitious rest upon this achievement. The 
more ambitious continue the game, for higher titles, for 
, I greater prestige as craftsmen or orators, for the control 

^v^MiL^of more strings in the political game. At last the 
preference for the most able, the very preference which, 
in defiance of laws of primogeniture or direct descent, 
may have given a man his title, takes it away from him. 
For should he live beyond his prime, fifty-five or sixty, 
his name is taken from him and given to another, and 
he is given a "little matal name," so that he may still sit 
with the other matais and drink his kava. These old 
men stay at home, guard the house while the others 
go inland to the plantations, superintend the children, 
braid cinet and give advice, or in a final perverse asser- 
tion of authority, fail to give it. One young chief who 
had been given his father's name during his father's 
lifetime, complained to me: "I had no old man to help 
me. My father was angry that his title was given to me 
and he would tell me nothing. My mother was wise 
but she came from another island and did not know well 
the ancient ways of our village. There was no old one 
in the house to sit with me in the evening and fill my 
ears with the things from the olden time. A young 
matai should always have an old man beside him, who, 



even though he is deaf and cannot always hear his 
questions, can still tell him many things." 

The women's lives pursue a more even tenor. The 
wives of chiefs and talking chiefs have to give some 
time to the mastery of ceremonial. The old women 
who become midwives or doctors pursue their profes- 1 
sions but seldom and in a furtive, private fashion. The I 
menopause is marked by some slight temperamental in- 
stability, irritability, finickiness about food, a tendency 
to sudden whims and inexplicable fancies. Once past 
the menopause and relieved of child-bearing, a woman 
turns her attention again to the heavy work of the 
plantations. The hardest work of the village is done 
by women between forty-five and fifty-five. Then, as i j 
age approaches, she settles down to performing the 
skilled tasks in the household, to weaving and tapa 

Where a man is disqualified from active work by 
rheumatism, elephantiasis, or general feebleness, his 
role as a teacher is diminished. He can teach the 
aspirant young fisherman the lore of fishing but not the 
technique. The old woman on the other hand is mis- 
tress of housebound crafts and to her must go the girl 
who is ambitious to become a skilled weaver. Another 
can gather the herbs which she needs for her medicines, 
while she keeps the secret of compounding them. The 
ceremonial burning of the candle-nut to obtain black 
dye is in the hands of very old women. And also these 



old women are usually more of a power within the 
household than the old men. The men rule partly by 
the authority conferred by their titles, but their wives 
and sisters rule by force of personality and knowledge 
of human nature. A life-long preoccupation within the 
smaller group makes them omniscient and tyrannical. 
They suffer no diminution of prestige except such as is 
inherent in the complete loss of their faculties. 

The feeling for generation is retained until death, 
and the very old people sit in the sun and talk softly 
without regard for taboo or sex. 




FOR many chapters we have followed the lives of 
Samoan girls, watched them change from babies to 
baby-tenders, learn to make the oven and weave fine 
mats, forsake the life of the gang to become more 
active members of the household, defer marriage 
through as many years of casual love-making as pos- 
sible, finally marry and settle down to rearing children 
who will repeat the same cycle. As far as our material 
permitted, an experiment has been conducted to discover 
what the process of development was like in a society 
very different from our own. Because the length of 
human life and the complexity of our society did not 
permit us to make our experiment here, to choose a 
group of baby girls and bring them to maturity under 
conditions created for the experiment, it was necessary 
to go instead to another country where history had set 
the stage for us. There we found girl children pass- 
ing through the same process of physical development 
through which our girls go, cutting their first teeth and 
losing them, cutting their second teeth, growing tall and 
ungainly, reaching puberty with their first menstruation, 
gradually reaching physical maturity, and becoming 




ready to produce the next generation. It was possible 
to say: Here are the proper conditions for an experi- 
ment j the developing girl is a constant factor in 
America and in Samoa j the civilisation of America and 
the civilisation of Samoa are different. In the course 
of development, the process of growth by which the girl 
baby becomes a grown woman, are the sudden and con- 
spicuous bodily changes which take place at puberty 
accompanied by a development which is spasmodic, 
emotionally charged, and accompanied by an awakened 
religious sense, a flowering of idealism, a great desire 
for assertion of self against authority — or not? Is 
adolescence a period of mental and emotional distress 
for the growing girl as inevitably as teething is a period 
of misery for the small baby? Can we think of ado- 
lescence as a time in the life history of every girl child 
which carries with it symptoms of conflict and stress as 
surely as it implies a change in the girl's body? 

Following the Samoan girls through every aspect of 
their lives we have tried to answer this question, and 
we found throughout that we had to answer it in the 
egative. The adolescent girl in Samoa differed from 
her sister who had not reached puberty in one chief re- 
spect, that in the older girl certain bodily changes were 
present which were absent in the younger girl. There 
were no other great differences to set off the group 
passing through adolescence from the group which 
would become adolescent in two years or the group 
which had become adolescent two years before. 

■^v [196] 


And if one girl past puberty is undersized while her 
cousin is tall and able to do heavier work, there will be 
a difference between them, due to their different physi- 
cal endowment, which will be far greater than that 
which is due to puberty. The tall, husky girl will be 
isolated from her companions, forced to do longer, 
more adult tasks, rendered shy by a change of clothing, 
while her cousin, slower to attain her growth, will still 
be treated as a child and will have to solve only the 
slightly fewer problems of childhood. The precedent 
of educators here who recommend special tactics in the 
treatment of adolescent girls translated into Samoan 
terms would read: Tall girls are different from short 
girls of the same age, we must adopt a different method 
of educating them. 

But when we have answered the question we set out 
to answer we have not finished with the problem. A 
further question presents itself. If it is proved that 
adolescence is not necessarily a specially difficult period 
in a girl's life — and proved it is if we can find any yv \ 
society in which that is so — then what accpunts for the ; \ 

presence of storm and stress in American adolescents? j 
First, we may say quite simply, that there must be some- , 
thing in the two civilisations to account for the ' 
difference. If the same process takes a different form , 
in two different environments, we cannot make any ex- j 

planations in terms of the process, for that is the same | 

in both cases. But the social environment is very j o,.. I 
different and it is to it that we must look for an explana- i 



tion. What is there in Samoa which is absent in 
America, what is there in America which is absent in 
Samoa, which will account for this diflFerence? 

Such a question has enormous implications and any 
attempt to answer it will be subject to many possibilities 
of error. But if we narrow our question to the way in 
which aspects of Samoan life which irremediably affect 
the life of the adolescent girl differ from the forces 
which influence our growing~girls, it is possible to try 
to answer it. 

— The background of these differences is a broad one, 
with two important components j one is due. to charac- 
teristics which are Samoan, the other to characteristics 
which are primitive. 

The Samoan background which makes growing up so 
easy, so simple a matter, is the general casualness of the 
whole so ciety. For Samoa is a place where no^neplaVs 
for very high stakes, no one pays very heavy prices, no 
one suffers for his convictions or fights to the death for 
special ends. Disagreements between parent and child 
are settled by the child's moving across the street, be- 
tween a man and his village by the man's removal to the 
next village, between a husband and his wife's seducer 
by a few fine mats. Neither poverty nor great disasters 
threaten the people to make them hold their lives dearly 
and tremble for continued existence. No implacable 
gods, swift to anger and strong to punish, disturb the 
even tenor of their days. Wars and cannibalism are 
long since passed away and now the greatest cause for 



tears, short of death itself, Is a journey of a relative to ^ 
another island. No one is hurried along in life or | 
punished harshly for slowness of development. In- 
stead the gifted, the precocious, are held back, until the 
slowest among them have caught the pace. And in , 
personal relations, caring is as slight. Love and hate, 
jealousy and revenge, sorrow and bereavement, are all i 
matters of weeks. From the first months of its life, / 
when the child is handed carelessly from one woman's ! 
hands to another's, the lesson is learned of not caring 
for one person greatly, not setting high hopes on any ' 
one relationship. 

And just as we may feel that the Occident penalises 
those unfortunates who are born into Western civilisa- 
tion with a taste for meditation and a complete distaste 
for activity, so we may say that Samoa is kind to those 
who have learned the lesson of not caring, and hard 
upon those few individuals who have failed to learn It. 
Lola and Mala and little Siva, Lola's sister, all were 
girls with a capacity for emotion greater than their' 
fellows. And Lola and Mala, passionately desiring [ 
affection and too violently venting upon the community 
their disappointment over their lack of It, were both 
delinquent, unhappy misfits in a society which gave all 
the rewards to those who took defeat lightly and turned 
to some other goal with a smile. 

In this casual attitude towards life, in this avoid- j 
ance of conflict, of poignant situations, Samoa contrasts ' 
strongly not only with America but also with most prlm- 



itive civilisations. And however much we may deplore 
such an attitude and feel that important personalities 
and great art are not born in so shallow a society, we 
must recognise that here is a strong factor in the pain- 
less development from childhood to womanhood. For 
where no one feels very strongly, the adolescent will 
not be tortured by poignant situations. There are no 
such disastrous choices as those which confronted young 
people who felt that the service of God demanded for- 
swearing the world forever, as in the Middle Ages, or 
cutting off one's finger as a religious offering, as among 
the Plains Indians. So, high up in our list of explana- 
tions we must place the lack of deep feeling which the 
Samoans have conventionalised until it is the very 
framework of all their attitudes toward life. 

And next there is the most striking way in which all 
/ 'isolated primitive civilisation and many modern ones 
differ from our own, in the number of choices which 
are permitted to each individual. Our children grow 
up to find a world of choices dazzling their unaccus- 
tomed eyes. In religion they may be Catholics, 
Protestants, Christian Scientists, Spiritualists, Agnostics, 
Atheists, or even pay no attention at all to religion. 
This is an unthinkable situation in any primitive society 
not exposed to foreign influence. There is one set of 
gods, one accepted religious practice, and if a man does 
not believe, his only recourse is to believe less than his 
fellows j he may scofF but there is no new faith to which 
he may turn. Present-day Manu'a approximates this 



condition J all are Christians of the same sect. There is 
no conflict in matters of belief although there is a dif- 
ference in practice between Church-members and non- 
Church-members. And it was remarked that in the 
case of several of the growing girls the need for choice < 
between these two practices may some day produce a / 
conflict. But at present the Church makes too slight a 
bid for young unmarried members to force the adoles- 
cent to make any decision. 

Similarly, our children are faced with half a dozen 
standards of morality: a double sex standard for men 
and women, a single standard for men and women, and 
groups which advocate that the single standard should 
be freedom while others argue that the single standard 
should be absolute monogamy. Trial marriage, com- 
panionate marriage, contract marriage — all these pos- 
sible solutions of a social impasse are paraded before the 
growing children while the actual conditions in their 
own communities and the moving pictures and maga- 
zines inform them of mass violations of every code, 
violations which march under no banners of social re- 

The Samoan child faces no such dilemma. Sex is a i 
natural, pleasurable thing; the freedom with which it j' 
may be indulged in is limited by just one consideration, [ 
social status. Chiefs' daughters and chiefs' wives 
should indulge in no extra-marital experiments. Re- 1^ 
sponsible adults, heads of households and mothers of 
families should have too many important matters on 



hand to leave them much time for casual amorous ad- 
ventures. Every one in the community agrees about 
the matter, the only dissenters are the missionaries who 
dissent so vainly that their protests are unimportant. 
But as soon as a sufficient sentiment gathers about the 
missionary attitude with its European standard of sex 
behaviour, the need for choice, the forerunner of con- 
flict, will enter into Samoan society. 

Our young people are faced by a series of different 
groups which believe different things and advocate 
different practices, and to each of which some trusted 
friend or relative may belong. So a girl's father may 
be a Presbyterian, an imperialist, a vegetarian, a tee- 
totaler, with a strong literary preference for Edmund 
Burke, a believer in the open shop and a high tariff, who 
believes that woman's place is in the home, that young 
girls should wear corsets, not roll their stockings, not 
smoke, nor go riding with young men in the evening. 
But her mother's father may be a Low Episcopalian, a 
believer in high living, a strong advocate of States' 
Rights and the Monroe Doctrine, who reads Rabelais, 
likes to go to musical shows and horse races. Her aunt 
is an agnostic, an ardent advocate of woman's rights, an 
internationalist who rests all her hopes on Esperanto, 
is devoted to Bernard Shaw, and spends her spare time 
in campaigns of anti-vivisection. Her elder brother, 
whom she admires exceedingly, has just spent two years 
at Oxford. He is an Anglo-Catholic, an enthusiast 
concerning all things mediaeval, writes mystical poetry, 



reads Chesterton, and means to devote his life to seek- 
ing for the lost secret of mediasval stained glass. Her 
mother's younger brother is an engineer, a strict materi- 
alist, who never recovered from reading Haeckel in his 
youth J he scorns art, believes that science will save the 
world, scoffs at everything that was said and thought 
before the nineteenth century, and ruins his health by 
experiments in the scientific elimination of sleep. Her 
mother is of a quietistic frame of mind, very much 
interested in Indian philosophy, a pacifist, a strict non- 
participator in life, who in spite of her daughter's devo- 
tion to her will not make any move to enlist her 
enthusiasms. And this may be within the girl's own 
household. Add to it the groups represented, de- 
fended, advocated by her friends, her teachers, and the 
books which she reads by accident, and the list of 
possible enthusiasms, of suggested allegiances, incom- 
patible with one another, becomes appalling. 

The Samoan girl's choices are far otherwise. Her 
father is a member of the Church and so is her uncle. 
Her father lives in a village where there is good fishing, 
her uncle in a village where there are plenty of cocoanut 
crabs. Her father Is a good fisherman and in his house 
there is plenty to eatj her uncle is a talking chief and 
his frequent presents of bark cloth provide excellent 
dance dresses. Her paternal grandmother, who lives 
with her uncle, can teach her many secrets of healing; 
her maternal grandmother, who lives with her mother, 
is an expert weaver of fans. The boys in her uncle's 



village are admitted younger into the Aumaga and are 
not much fun when they come to callj but there are 
three boys in her own village whom she likes very 
much. And her great dilemma is whether to live with 
"""'i her father or her uncle, a frank, straightforward prob- 
l^ { lem which introduces no ethical perplexities, no question 
^ of impersonal logic. Nor will her choice be taken as a 

personal matter, as the American girPs allegiance to the 
views of one relative might be interpreted by her other 
relatives. The Samoans will be sure she chose one 
residence rather than the other for perfectly good 
reasons, the food was better, she had a lover in one 
village, or she had quarrelled with a lover in the other 
village. In each case she was making concrete choices 
within one recognised pattern of behaviour. She was 
never called upon to make choices involving an actual 
rejection of the standards of her social group, such as 
the daughter of Puritan parents, who permits indis- 
criminate caresses, must make in our society. 

7^ And not only are our developing children faced by a 

series of groups advocating different and mutually ex- 
clusive standards, but a more perplexing problem 
presents itself to them. Because our civilisation is 
woven of so many diverse strands, the ideas which any 
one group accepts will be found to contain numerous 
contradictions. So if the girl has given her allegiance 
whole-heartedly to some one group and has accepted in 
good faith their asseverations that they alone are right 
and all other philosophies of life are Antichrist and 
'^* [204] 


anathema, her troubles are still not over. While the 

less thoughtful receives her worst blows in the discovery 
that what father thinks is good, grandfather thinks is 
bad, and that things which are permitted at home are 
banned at school, the more thoughtful child has subtler 
difficulties in store for her. If she has philosophically 
accepted the fact that there are several standards among 
which she must choose, she may still preserve a child- 
like faith in the coherence of her chosen philosophy. 
Beyond the immediate choice which was so puzzling 
and hard to make, which perhaps involved hurting her 
parents or alienating her friends, she expects peace. 
But she has not reckoned with the fact that each of the 
philosophies with which she is confronted is itself but 
the half-ripened fruit of compromise. If she accept 
Christianity, she is immediately confused between the 
Gospel teachings concerning peace and the value of 
human life and the Church's whole-hearted acceptance 
of war. The compromise made seventeen centuries ago 
between the Roman philosophy of war and domination, 
and the early Church doctrine of peace and humility, is 
still present to confuse the modern child. If she ac- 
cepts the philosophic premises upon which the Declara- 
tion of Independence of the United States was 
founded, she finds herself faced with the necessity of 
reconciling the belief in the equality of man and our 
institutional pledges of equality of opportunity with 
our treatment of the Negro and the Oriental. The 
diversity of standards in present-day society is so strik- 



ing that the dullest, the most incurious, cannot fail to 
notice it. And this diversity is so old, so embodied in 
semi-solutions, in those compromises between different 
philosophies which we call Christianity, or democracy, 
or humanitarianism, that it baffles the most intelligent, 
the most curious, the most analytical. 

rSo for the explanation of the lack of poignancy in the 
choices of growing girls in Samoa, we must look to the 
temperament of the Samoan civilisation whkh discounts 
strong feeling. But for the explanation of the lack 
of conflict we must look principally to the difference 
between a simple, homogenous primitive ciyUisatioii, a 
civilisation which changes so slowly that to each genera- 
tion it appears static, and a motley, diverse, hetero- 
^ ^eneous modern civilisation. 

And in making the comparison there is a third con- 
sideration, the lack of neuroses among the Samoans, the 
great number of neuroses among ourselves. We must 
examine the factors in the early education of the Samoan 
children which have fitted them for a normal, un- 
neurotic development. The findings of the behav- 
iourists and of the psychoanalysts alike lay great em- 
phasis upon the enormous r51e which is played by the 
environment of the first few years. Children who have 
been given a bad start are often found to function badly 
later on when they are faced with important choices. 
And we know that the more severe the choice, the more 
conflict j the more poignancy is attached to the demands 
made upon the individual, the more neuroses will re- 



suit. History, in the form of the last war, provided a 
stupendous illustration of the great number of maimed 
and handicapped individuals whose defects showed only 
under very special and terrible stress. Without the war, 
there is no reason to believe that many of these shell- 
shocked individuals might not have gone through life 
unremarked 3 the bad start, the fears, the complexes, the 
bad conditionings of early childhood, would never have 
borne positive enough fruit to attract the attention of 

The implications of this observatioii are double. 
Samoa's lack of difficult situations, of conflicting choice, 
of situations in which fear or pain or anxiety are sharp- 
ened to a knife edge will probably account for a large 
part of the absence of psychological maladjustment. 
Just as a low-grade moron would not be hopelessly 
handicapped in Samoa, although he would be a public 
charge in a large American city, so individuals with 
slight nervous instability have a much more favourable 
chance in Samoa than in America. Furthermore the 
amount of individualisation, the range of variation, is 
much smaller in Samoa. Within our wider limits of 
deviation there are inevitably found weak and non- 
resistant temperaments. And just as our society shows 
a greater development of personality, so also it shows a 
larger proportion of individuals who have succumbed 
before the complicated exactions of modern life. 

Nevertheless, it is possible that there are factors in 
the early environment of the Samoan child which are 



particularly favourable to the establishment of nervous 
stability. Just as a child from a better home environ- 
ment in our civilisation may be presumed to have a 
better chance under all circumstances it is conceivable 
that the Samoan child is not only handled more gently 
by its culture but that it is also better equipped for those 
difficulties which it does meet. 

Such an assumption is given force by the fact that 
little Samoan children pass apparently unharmed 
through experiences which often have grave effects on 
individual development in our civilisation. Our life 
histories ire filled with the later difficulties which can 
be traced back to some early, highly charged experience 
with sex or with birth or death. And yet Samoan chil- 
dren are familiarised at an early age and without disas- 
ter, with all three. It is very possible that there are 
aspects of the life of the young child in Samoa which 
equip it particularly well for passing through life with- 
out nervous instability. 

With this hypothesis in mind it is worth while to 
Jl consider in more detail which parts of the young child's 
' Social environment are most strikingly different from 
ours. Most of these centre about the family situation, 
the environment which impinges earliest and most in-' 
tensely upon the child's consciousness. The organisa- 
tion of a Samoan household eliminates at one stroke, in 
almost all cases, many of the special situations which 
are believed to be productive of undesirable emotional 
sets. The youngest, the oldest, and the only child, 



hardly ever occur because of the large number of chil- 
dren in a household, all of whom receive the same 
treatment. Few children are weighted down with re- 
sponsibility, or rendered domineering and overbearing 
as eldest children so often are, or isolated, condemned 
to the society of adults and robbed of the socialising 
effect of contact with other children, as only children 
so often are. No child is petted and spoiled until its 
view of its own deserts is hopelessly distorted, as is so 
often the fate of the youngest child. But in the few 
cases where Samoan family life does approximate ours, 
the special attitudes incident to order of birth and to 
close aifectional ties with the parent tend to develop. 

The close relationship between parent and child, j 
which has such a decisive influence upon so many in our 
civilisation, that submission to the parent or defiance of = 
the parent may become the dominating pattern of a life-;; 
time, is not found in Samoa. Children reared in house- 1 
holds where there are a half dozen adult women to care 
for them and dry their tears, and a half dozen adult 
males, all of whom represent constituted authority, do 
not distinguish their parents as sharply as our children 
do. The image of the fostering, loving mother, or the u 
admirable father, which may serve to determine aff ec- ' 
tional choices later in life, is a composite _affair, com- 
posed of several aunts, cousins, older sisters and grand- 
mothers j of chief, father, uncles, brothers and cousins. 
Instead of learning as its first lesson that here is a 
kind mother whose special and principal care is for its 



welfare, and a father whose authority is to be deferred 
to, the Samoan baby learns that its world is composed 
of a hierarchy of male and female adults, all of whom 
can be depended upon and must be deferred to. 
•*^^'The lack of specialised feeling which results from 
this diffusion of affection in the household is further re- 
inforced by the segregation of the boys from the girls, 
so that a child regards the children of the opposite 
sex as taboo relatives, regardless of individuality, or as 
present enemies and future lovers, again regardless of 
individuality. And the substitution of relationship for 
preference in forming friendships completes the work. 
By the time she reaches puberty the Samoan girl has 
learned to subordinate choice in the selection of friends 
or lovers to an observance of certain categories. Friends 
must be relatives of one's own sexj lovers, non-relatives. 
All claim of personal attraction or congeniality between 
relatives of opposite sex must be flouted. All of this 
means that casual sex relations carry no onujjQf_strong_ 
attachment, that the marriage of convenience dictated 
by economic and social considerations is easily born and 
casually broken without strong emotion. 

Nothing could present a sharper contrast to the 
average American home, with its small number of chil- 
dren, the close, theoretically permanent tie between the 
parents, the drama of the entrance of each new child 
upon the scene and the deposition of the last baby. 
Here the growing girl learns to depend upon a few 
individuals, to expect the rewards of life from cer- 



tain kinds of personalities. With this first set towards 
preference in personal relations she grows up playing 
with boys as well as with girls, learning to know well 
brothers and cousins and schoolmates. She does not 
think of boys as a class but as individuals, nice ones like 
the brother of whom she is fond, or disagreeable, domi- 
neering ones, like a brother with whom she is always on 
bad terms. Preference in physical make-up, in tempera- 
ment, in character, develops and forms the foundations 
for a very different adult attitude in which choice plays 
a vivid role. The Samoan girl never tastes the rewards 
of romantic love as we know it, nor does she suffer as 
an oT3 mald^wHoTias appealed to no lover or found no 
Iov"er appealing to her, or as the frustrated wife in a 
marriage which hasnot fulfilled her high demands. 

Having learned a little of the art of disciplining sex 
feeling into special channels approved by the whole 
personality, we will be inclined to account our solution 
better than the Samoans. To attain what we consider a 
more dignified standard of personal relations we are 
willing to pay the penalty of frigidity in marriage and 
a huge toll of barren, unmarried women who move in 
unsatisfied procession across the American and English 
stage. But while granting the desirability of this de- 
velopment of sensitive, discriminating response to per- 
sonality, as a better basis for dignified human lives than 
an automatic, undifferentiated response to sex attraction, 
we may still, in the light of Samoan solutions, count 
our methods exceedingly expensive. 



The strict segregation of related boys and girls, the 
institutionalised hostility between pre-adolescent chil- 
dren of opposite sexes in Samoa are cultural features 
with which we are completely out of sympathy. For 
the vestiges of such attitudes, expressed in our one-sex 
schools, we are trying to substitute coeducation, to 
habituate one sex to another sufficiently so that dif- 
ference of sex will be lost sight of in the more im- 
portant and more striking differences in personality. 
There are no recognisable gains in the Samoan system 
of taboo and segregation, of response to a group rather 
than response to an individual. But when we contrast 
the other factor of difference the conclusion is not so 
sure. What are the rewards of the tiny, ingrown, 
biological family opposing Its closed circle of affection 
to a forbidding world, of the strong ties between parents 
and children, ties which imply an active personal rela- 
tion from birth until death? Specialisation of affection, 
it is true, but at the price of many individuals' preserv- 
ing through life the attitudes of dependent children, of 
ties between parents and children which successfully 
defeat the children's attempts to make other adjust- 
ments, of necessary choices made unnecessarily poignant 
because they become Issues in an intense emotional rela- 
tionship. Perhaps these are too heavy prices to pay 
for a ^ecialisation of emotion which might be brought 
about in other ways, notably through coeducation. 
And with such a question in our minds it is interesting 
to note that a larger family community, in which there 



are several adult men and women, seems to ensure the 
child against the development of the crippling attitudes^ * 
which have been labelled CEdipus complexes, Electra 
complexes, and so on. 

The Samoan picture shows that it is not necessary to 
channel so deeply the affection of a child for its parents 
and suggests that while we would reject that part of 
the Samoan scheme which holds no rewards for us, the 
segregation of the sexes before puberty, we may learn 
from a picture in which the home does not dominate 
and distort the life of the child. 

The presence of many strongly held and contradic- 
tory points of view and the enormous influence of indi- 
viduals in the lives of their children in our country play 
into each other's hands in producing situations fraught 
with emotion and pain. \In Samoa the fact that one 
girl's father is a domineering, dogmatic person, her 
cousin's father a gentle, reasonable person, and another 
cousin's father a vivid, brilliant, eccentric person, will 
influence the three girls in only one respect, choice of ^' 
residence if any one of the three fathers is the head of a 
household. But the attitudes of the three girls towards 
sex, and towards religion, will not be affected by the 
different temperaments of their three fathers, for the 
fathers play too slight a role in their lives. A They are 
schooled not by an individual but by an army of rela- 
tives into a general conformity upon which the per- 
sonality of their parents has a very slight effect. And 
through an endless chain of cause and effect, individual 



differences of standard are not perpetuated through the 
children's adherence to the parents' position, nor are 
children thrown into bizarre, untypical attitudes which 

r might form the basis for departure and change. It is 
, possible that where our own culture is so charged with 
choke, it would be desirable to mitigate, at least in some 
slight measure, the strong role which parents play in 
children's lives, and so eliminate one of the most pow- 
erful accidental factors In the choices of any individual 

/ The Samoan parent would reject as unseemly and 
odious an ethical plea made to a child in terms of per- 
sonal affection. "Be good to please mother." "Go to 
church for father's sake." "Don't be so disagreeable to 
your sister, it makes father so unhappy." Where there 
is one standard of conduct and only one, such undig- 
nified confusion of ethics and affection is blessedly 
eliminated. )But where there are many standards and 
all adults are striving desperately to bind their own 
children to the particular courses which they themselves 
have chosen, recourse is had to devious and non-repu- 
table means. Beliefs, practices, courses of action, are 
pressed upon the child in the name of filial loyalty. In 
our ideal picture of the freedom of the individual and 
the dignity of human relations it is not pleasant to 
realise that we have developed a form of family or- 
ganisation which often cripples the emotional life, and 
warps and confuses the growth of many individuals' 
power to consciously live their own lives. 



The third element in the Samoan pattern of lack of 
personal relationships and lack of speci_alised affection, 
is the case of friendship. Here, most of all, individuals 
are placed in categories and the response is to the cate- 
gory, "relative," or "wife of my husband's talking 
chief," or "son of my father's talking chief," or 
"daughter of my father's talking chief." ^^Considera- 
tion of congeniality, of like-mindedness, are all ironed 
out in favour of regimented associations.^ Such atti- 
tudes we would of course reject completelv. ^ ^^ 

f SJ Li ■■ 

Drawing the threads of this particular discussion to- 
gether, we may say that one striking difference between 
Samoan society and our own is the lack of the specialisa- /h 
tion of feeling, and particularly of sex feeling^ among ^ 
Ihe Samoans. To this difference is uncfoubtedly due 
a part of the lack of difficulty of marital adjustments 
in a marriage of convenience, and the lack of frigidity 
or psychic impotence. This lack of specmlisation_ of 
feeling must be attributed to l:he large_heterog;eneous 
household, the segregation of the sexes before adoles- 
cence, and the reg^imen^tation _af _friendship — chiefly 
along relationship lines. And yet, altTiough we de- 
plore the prices.Jn maladjusted and frustrated lives, 
which we. must pay for the greater specialisation of sex 
feeling in our own society, we nevertheless vote the 
development of specialised response as a gain which 
we would not relinquish. But an examination of these 
three causal factors suggests that we might accomplish 
our desired end, the development of a consciousness of 



personality, through coeducation and free and un- 
regirner^djEriendships, and possibly do away with the 
evils inherent in the too intimate family organisation, 
thus eliminating a part of our penalty of maladjust- 

^jnent without sacrificing any of our dearly bought gains. 

, f^yThe next great difference between Samoa and our own 
culture which may be credited with a lower production 
of maladjusted individuals is the difference in the atti- 
tude towards sex and the education of the children In 
matters pertaining to birth and death. None of the 
facts of sex or of birth are regarded as unfit for children, 
no child has to conceal its knowledge for fear of punish- 
ment or ponder painfully over little-understood occur- 
rences. Secrecy, ignorance, guilty knowledge, faulty 
speculations resulting in grotesque conceptions which 
may have far-reaching results, a knowledge of the bare 
physical facts of sex without a knowledge of the accom- 
panying excitement, of the fact of birth without the pains 
of labour, of the fact of death without the fact of cor- 
ruption — all the chief flaws in our fatal philosophy of 
sparing children a knowledge of the dreadful truth — 
are absent In Samoa. Furthermore, the Samoan child 
who participates intimately In the lives of a host of 
relatives has many and varied experiences upon which 

" to base its emotional attitudes. Our children, confined 
within one family circle (and such confinement is be- 
coming more and more frequent with the growth of 
cities and the substitution of apartment houses with a 
transitory population for a neighbourhood of house- 



holders), often owe their only experience with birth or 
death to the birth of a younger brother or sister or the 
death of a parent or grandparent. Their knowledge of 
sex, aside from children's gossip, comes from an acci- 
dental glimpse of parental activity. This has several 
very obvious disadvantages. In the first place, the child 
is dependent for its knowledge upon birth and death 
entering its own home 3 the youngest child in a family 1) 

where there are no deaths may grow to adult life with- ^ ■ 
out ever having had any close knowledge of pregnancy, ' '' 
experience with young children, or contact with death. -K 

A host of ill-digested fragmentary conceptions of life 
and death will fester in the ignorant, Inexperienced ,y 
mind and provide a fertile field for the later growth ^0 

of unfortunate attitudes. Second, such children draw 
their experiences from too emotionally toned a field j 
one birth may be the only one with which they come in 
close contact for the first twenty years of their lives. 
And upon the accidental aspects of this particular birth 
their whole attitude is dependent. If the birth is that 
of a younger child who usurps the elder's place, if 
the mother dies In child bed, or if the child which Is 
born is deformed, birth may seem a horrible thing, 
fraught with only unwelcome consequences. If the 
only death bed at which one has ever watched Is the 
death bed of one's mother, the bare fact of death may 
carry all the emotion which that bereavement aroused, 
carry forever an effect out of all proportion to the par- 
ticular deaths encountered later in life. And inter- 



course seen only once or twice, between relatives to- 
wards whom the child has complicated emotional atti- 
tudes, may produce any number of false assumptions. 
Our records of maladjusted children are full of cases 
where children have misunderstood the nature of the 
sexual act, have interpreted it as struggle accompanied 
by anger, or as chastisement, have recoiled in terror 
from one highly charged experience. So our children 
are dependent upon accident for their experience of 
life and death j and those experiences which they are 
vouchsafed, lie within the intimate family circle and so 
are the worst possible way of learning general facts 
about which it is important to acquire no special, dis- 
torted attitudes. One death, two births, one sex ex- 
perience, is a generous total for the child brought up 
under living conditions which we consider consonant 
with an American standard of living. And considering 
the number of illustrations which we consider it neces- 
sary to give of how to calculate the number of square 
feet of paper necessary to paper a room eight feet by 
twelve feet by fourteen feet, or how to parse an Eng- 
lish sentence, this is a low standard of illustration. It 
might be argued that these are experiences of such 
high emotional tone that repetition is unnecessary. It 
might also be argued if a child were severely beaten 
before being given its first lesson in calculating how to 
paper a room, and as a sequel to the lesson, saw its 
father hit its mother with the poker, it would always 
remember that arithmetic lesson. But what it would 



know about the real nature of the calculations involved 
in room-papering is doubtful. In one or two experi- 
ences, the child is given no perspective, no chance to 
relegate the grotesque and unfamiliar physical details 
of the life process to their proper place. False impres- 
sions, part impressions, repulsion, nausea, horror, grow 
up about some fact experienced only once under intense 
emotional stress and in an atmosphere unfavourable to 
the child's attaining any real understanding. 

A standard of reticence which forbids the child any 
sort of comment upon its experiences makes for the con- 
tinuance of such false impressions, such hampering emo- 
tional attitudes, questions such as, "Why were grand- 
ma's lips so bluer" are promptly hushed. In Samoa, 
where decomposition sets in almost at once, a frank, 
naive repugnance to the odours of corruption on the 
part of all the participants at a funeral robs the physical 
aspect of death of any special significance. So, in our 
arrangements, the child is not allowed to repeat his 
experiences, and he is not permitted to discuss those 
which he has had and correct his mistakes. 

With the Samoan child it is profoundly different. 
Intercourse, pregnancy, child birth, death, are all 
familiar occurrences. And the Samoan child experi- 
ences them in no such ordered fashion as we, were we 
to decide for widening the child's experimental field, 
would regard as essential. In a civilisation which sus- 
pects privacy, children of neighbours will be accidental 
and unemotional spectators in a house where the head 



of the household is dying or the wife is delivered of a 
miscarriage. The pathology of the life processes is 
known to them, as well as the normal. One impression 
corrects an earlier one until they are able, as adolescents, 
to think about life and death and emotion without undue 
preoccupation with the purely physical details. 

It must not be supposed, however, that the mere 
exposure of children to scenes of birth and death would 
be a sufficient guarantee against the growth of unde- 
sirable attitudes. Probably even more influential than 
the facts which are so copiously presented to them, is 
the attitude of mind with which their elders regard the 
matter. To them, birth and sex and death are the 
natural, inevitable structure of existence, of an existence 
in which they expect their youngest children to share. 
Our so often repeated comment that "it's not natural" 
for children to be permitted to encounter death would 
seem as Incongruous to them as if we were to say it 
was not natural for children to see other people eat or 
sleep. 'And this calm, matter-of-fact acceptance of 
their children's presence envelops the children in a pro- 
tective atmosphere, saves them from shock and binds 
them closer to the common emotion which is so digni- 
. fiedly permitted them^) 
\\j As in every case, it is here impossible to separate 
' attitude from practice and say which is primary. The 
distinction is made only for our use in another civilisa- 
tion. The individual American parents, who believe 
in a practice like the Samoan, and permit their children 



to see adult human bodies and gain a wider experience 
of the functioning of the human body than is commonly 
permitted in our civilisation, are building upon sand. 
For the child, as soon as it leaves the protecting circle • 
of its home, is blasted by an attitude which regards such y 
experience in children as ugly and unnatural. As likely \ 
as not, the attempt of the individual parents will have ' 
done the child more harm than good, for the necessary 
supporting social attitude is lacking. This is just a 
further example of the possibilities of maladjustment 
inherent in a society where each home differs from each 
other home J for it is in the fact of difference that the « 
strain lies rather than in the nature of the difference. 

Upon this quiet acceptance of the physical facts of 
life, the Samoans build, as they grow older, an accept- 
ance of sex. Here again it is necessary to sort out which 
parts of their practice seem to produce results which we 
certainly deprecate, and which produce results which 
we desire. It is possible to analyse Samoan sex practice 
from the standpoint of development of personal rela- 
tionships on the one hand, and of the obviation of 
specific difficulties upon the other. f 

We have seen that the Samoans have a low level of 
appreciation of personality differences, and a poverty 
of conception of personal relations. To such an atti- > 
tude the acceptance of promiscuity undoubtedly con- 
tributes. The contemporaneousness of several experi- 
ences, their short duration, the definite avoidance of " 
forming any affectional ties, the blithe acceptance of the 




dictates of a favourable occasion, as in the expectation of 
infidelity in any wife whose husband is long from home, 
all serve to make sex an end rather than a means, some- 
thing which is valued in itself, and deprecated inasmuch 
as it tends to bind one individual to another. Whether 
such a disregard of personal relations is completely con- 
tingent upon the sex habits of the people is doubtful. 
Itf'probably is also a reflection of a more general cul- 
tural attitude in which personality is consistently disre- 
garded. ; But there is one respect in which these very 
practices make possible a recognition of personality 
which is often denied to many in our civilisation, be- 
cause, from the Samoans' complete knowledge of ^sex^ 
its possibilities and its rewards, they are able to count it 
at its true value. And if they have no preference for re- 
serving sex activity for important relationships, neither 
do they regard relationships as important because they 
are productive of sex satisfaction. The Samoan girl who 
shrugs her shoulder over the excellent technique of 
^ some young Lothario is nearer to the recognition of 
sex as an impersonal force without any intrinsic valid- 
ity, than is the sheltered American girl who falls in 
love with the first man who kisses her. From their 
familiarity with the reverberations which accompany 
sex excitement comes this recognition of the essential 
impersonality of sex attraction which we may well 
envy themj from the too slight, too casual practice 
comes the disregard of personality which seems to us 
' unlovely. 



The fashion in which their sex practice reduces the 
possibility of neuroses has already been discussed.^ By 
discounting our category of perversion, as applied to 
practice, and reserving it for the occasional psychic per- 
vert, they legislate a whole field of neurotic possibility 
out of existence. Onanism, homosexuality, statistically 
unusual forms of heterosexual activity, are neither 
banned nor institutionalised. The wider range which 
these practices give prevents the development of obses- 
sions of guilt which are so frequent a cause of malad- 
justment among us. The more varied practices per- 
mitted heterosexually preserve any individual from 
being penalised for special conditioning. This accept- | 
an£e_o£jajffiid£r..range as,."normal" provides a cultural/! 
atmosphere in which frigidity and psychic impotence do / 
not occur and in which a satisfactory sex adjustment inf 
marriage can always be established. —The acceptancej 
of such an attitude without in any way accepting pro- 
miscuity would go a long way towards solving many 
marital impasses and emptying our park benches and 
our houses of prostitution. 

Among the factors in the Samoan scheme of life J 
which are influential in producing stable, well-adjusted, 
robust individualsjv the organisation of the family and 
the attitude towards sex are undoubtedly the most im- 
.^^^portantr) But it is necessary to note also the general 
^3^educational concept which disapproves of precocity and 
coddles the slow, the laggard, the inept. In a society 
where the tempo of life was faster, the rewards greater, 



the amount of energy expended larger, the bright chil- 
dren might develop symptoms of boredom. But the 
slower pace dictated by the climate, the complacent, 
peaceful society, and the c.Q0ap£a§gfeQ4^ SiL th& iaiKSi 
in its blatant precocious display of individuality which 
drains off some of the discontent which the bright child 
feels, prevent any child from becoming too bored. 
And the dullard is not goaded and dragged along 
faster than he is able until, sick with making an im- 
possible effort, he gives up entirely. This educational 
policy also tends to blur individual differences and so 
to minimise jealousy, rivalry, emulation, those social 
attitudes which arise out of discrepancies of endowment 
and are so far-reaching in their efiFects upon the adult 

It is one way of solving the problem of differences 
between individuals and a method of solution exceed- 
ingly congenial to a strict adult world. The longer the 
child is kept in a subject, non-initiating state, the more 
I of the general cultural attitude it will absorb, the less 
i' of a disturbing element it will become. Furthermore, 
if time is given them, the dullards can learn enough 
to provide a stout body of conservatives upon whose 
shoulders the burden of the civilisation can safely rest. 
Giving titles to young men would put a premium upon 
the exceptional J giving titles to men of forty, who 
have at last acquired sufficient training to hold them, 
assures the continuation of the usual. It also discour- 
ages the brilliant so that their social contribution is 
slighter than it might otherwise have been. 



We are slowly feeling our way towards a solution 
of this problem, ac least in the case of formal educa- 
tion. LTntil very recently our educational system of- 
fered only two very partial solutions of the difficulties 
inherent in a great discrepancy between children of 
different endowment and different rates of develop- 
ment. One solution was to allow a sufficiently long 
time to each educational step so that all but the men- 
tally defective could succeed, a method similar to the 
Samoan one and without its compensatory dance floor. 
The bright child, held back, at intolerably boring tasks, 
unless he was fortunate enough to find some other out- 
let for his unused energy, was likely to expend it upon 
truancy and general delinquency. Our only alterna- 
tive to this was "skipping" a child from one grade to 
another, relying upon the child's superior intelligence 
to bridge the gaps. This was a method congenial to 
American enthusiasm for meteoric careers from canal 
boat and log cabin to the White House. Its disad- 
vantages in giving the child a sketchy, discontinuous 
background, in removing it from its age group, have 
been enumerated too often to need repetition here. But 
it is worthy of note that with a very different valuation 
of individual ability than that entertained by Samoan 
society we used for years one solution, similar and 
less satisfactory than theirs, in our formal educational 

The methods which experimental educators are sub- 
stituting for these unsatisfactory solutions, schemes like 
the Dalton Plan, or the rapidly moving classes in 



which a group of children can move ahead at a high, 
even rate of speed without hurt to themselves or to 
their duller fellows, is a striking example of the re- 
sults of applying reason to the institutions of our so- 
ciety. The old red school-house was almost as hap- 
hazard and accidental a phenomenon as the Samoan 
dance floor. It was an institution which had grown 
up in response to a vaguely felt, unanalysed need. 
Its methods were analogous to the methods used by 
primitive peoples, non-rationalised solutions of press- 
ing problems. But the institutionalisation of different 
methods of education for children of different capaci- 
ties and different rates of development is not like any- 
thing which we find in Samoa or in any other primi- 
tive society. It is the conscious, intelligent directing 
of human institutions in response to observed human 
^ Still another factor in Samoan education which re- 
' suits in different attitudes is the place of work and play 
in the children's lives. Samoan children do not learn 
to work through learning to play, as the children of 
many primitive peoples do. Nor are they permitted a 
•/ period of lack of responsibility such as our children 
are allowed. From the time they are four or five 
years old they perform definite tasks, graded to their 
strength and intelligence, but still tasks which have a 
meaning in the structure of the whole society. This 
does not mean that they have less time for play than 
American children who are shut up in schools from 



nine to three o'clock every day. Before the introduc- 
tion of schools to complicate the ordered routine of 
their lives, the time spent by the Samoan child in run- 
ning errands, sweeping the house, carrying water, and 
taking actual care of the baby, was possibly less ^than 
that which the American school child devotes to her 

The difference lies not in the proportion of time in 
which their activities are directed and the proportion 
in which they are free, but rather in the difference of 
attitude. With the professionalisation of education and 
the specialisation of industrial tasks which has stripped 
the individual home of its former variety of activities, 
our children are not made to feel that the time they 
do devote to supervised activity is functionally related 
to the world of adult activity. Although this lack of 
connection is more apparent than real, it is still suffi- 
ciently vivid to be a powerful determinant in the child's 
attitude. The Samoan girl who tends babies, carries 
water, sweeps the floor j or the little boy who digs for 
bait, or collects cocoanuts, has no such difficulty. The 
necessary nature of their tasks is obvious. jAnd the ». 
practice of giving a child a task which he can do well 
and never permitting a childish, inefficient tinkering 
with adult apparatus, such as we permit to our chil- 
dren, who bang aimlessly and destructively on their 
fathers' typewriters, results in a different attitude to^ 
wards work.'^ American children spendTiours in schools 
learning tasks whose visible relation to their mothers' 



and fathers' activities is often quite impossible to rec- 
ognise. Their participation in adults' activities is either 
in terms of toys, tea-sets and dolls and toy automobiles, 
or else a meaningless and harmful tampering with the 
electric light system. (It must be understood that 
here, as always, when I say American, I do not mean 
those Americans recently arrived from Europe, who 
still present a different tradition of education. Such 
a group would be the Southern Italians, who still ex- 
pect productive work from their children.) 
I So our children make a false set of categories, work, 
play, and school j work for adults, play for children's 
1 pleasure, and schools as an inexplicable nuisance with 
I some compensations. These false distinctions are likely 
to produce all sorts of strange attitudes, an apathetic 
treatment of a school which bears no known relation 
to life, a false dichotomy between work and play, which 
may result either in a dread of work as implying irk- 
some responsibility or in a later contempt for play as 

The Samoan child's dichotomy is different. Work 
» consists of those necessary tasks which keep the social 
life going: planting and harvesting and preparation of 
food, fishing, house-building, mat-making, care of chil- 
dren, collecting of property to validate marriages and 
births and succession to titles and to entertain strangers, 
these are the necessary activities of life, activities in 
which every member of the community, down to the 
' smallest child, has a part. Work is not a way of ac- 



quiring leisure j where every household produces its 
own food and clothes and furniture, where there is no 
large amount of fixed capital and households of high 
rank are simply characterised by greater industry in the 
discharge of greater obligations, our whole picture of 
saving, of investment, of deferred enjoyment, is com- 
pletely absent. (There is even a lack of clearly defined 
seasons of harvest, which would result in special abun- 
dance of food and consequent feasting. Food is always 
abundant, except in some particular village where a 
few weeks of scarcity may follow a period of lavish 
entertaining.) Rather, work is something which goes 
on all the time for every onej no one is exempt j few 
are overworked. There is social reward for the indus- 
trious, social toleration for the man who does barely 
enough. And there is always leisure — leisure, be it 
noted, which is not.the result of hard work or accumu- 
lated capital at all, but is merely the result of a kindly 
climate, a small population, a well-integrated social 
system, and no social demands for spectacular expendi- 
ture. And play is what one does with the time left 
over from working, a way of filling in the wide spaces 
in a structure of unirksome work. 

Play includes dancing, singing, games, weaving neck- 
laces of flowers, flirting, repartee, all forms of sex ac- 
tivity. And there are social institutions like the cere- 
monial inter-village visit which partake of both work 
and play. But the distinctions between work as some- 
thing one has to do but dislikes, and play as something 



one wants to do ; of work as the main business of adults, 
play as the main concern of children, are conspicuously 
absent. Children's play is like adults' play in kind, 
interest, and in its proportion to work. And the Sa- 
moan child has no desire to turn adult activities into 
play, to translate one sphere into the other. I had a 
box of white clay pipes for blowing soap bubbles sent 
me. The children were familiar with soap bubbles, but 
their native method of blowing them was very inferior 
to the use of clay pipes. But after a few minutes' de- 
light in the unusual size and beauty of the soap bub- 
bles, one little girl after another asked me if she might 
please take her pipe home to her mother, for pipes 
were meant to smoke, not to play with. Foreign dolls 
did not interest them, and they have no dolls of their 
own, although children of other islands weave dolls 
from the palm leaves from which Samoan children 
weave balls. They never make toy houses, nor play 
house, nor sail toy boats. Little boys would climb into 
a real outrigger canoe and practise paddling it within 
the safety of the lagoon. This whole attitude gave a 
greater coherence to the children's lives than we often 
afford our children. 

The Intelligibility of a child's life among us Is meas- 
ured only In terms of the behaviour of other children. 
If all the other children go to school the child who 
does not feels Incongruous In their midst. If the little 
girl next door Is taking music lessons, why can't Maryj 
or why must Mary take music lessons, if the other lit- 



tie girl doesn't take them. But so sharp is our sense 
of difference between the concerns of children and of 
adults that the child does not learn to judge its own 
behaviour in relationship to adult life. So children 
often learn to regard play as something inherently un- 
dignified, and as adults mangle pitifully their few 
moments of leisure. But the Samoan child measures 
her every act of work or play in terms of her whole 
community J each item of conduct is dignified in terms 
of its realised relationship to the only standard she 
knows, the life of a Samoan village. So complex and 
stratified a society as ours cannot hope to develop spon- 
taneously any such simple scheme of education. Again 
we will be hard put to it to devise ways of participation 
for children, and means of articulating their school life 
with the rest of life which will give them the same 
dignity which Samoa affords her children. 

..Last among the cultural differences which may in- 
fluence the emotional stability of the child is the lack 
of pressure to make important choices. Children are 
urged to learn, urged to behave, urged to work, but 
they are not urged to hasten in the choices which they 
make themselves. The first point at which this atti- 
tude makes itself felt is in the matter of the brother 
and sister taboo, a cardinal point of modesty and de- 
cency. Yet the exact stage at which the taboo should 
be observed is always left to the younger child. When 
it reaches a point of discretion, of understanding, it 
will of itself feel "ashamed" and establish the formal 



barrier which will last until old age. Likewise, sex 
activity is never urged upon the young people, nor 
marriage forced upon them at a tender age. Where 
the possibilities of deviation from the accepted standard 
are so slight, a few years leeway holds no threat for 
the society. The child who comes later to a realisa- 
tion of the brother and sister taboo really endangers 

This laissez faire attitude has been carried over into 
the Samoan Christian Church. The Samoan saw no 
reason why young unmarried people should be pressed 
to make momentous decisions which would spoil part 
of their fun in life. Time enough for such serious 
matters after they were married or later still, when 
they were quite sure of what steps they were taking 
and were in less danger of falling from grace every 
month or so. The missionary authorities, realising the 
virtues of going slowly and sorely vexed to reconcile 
Samoan sex ethics with a Western European code, saw 
the great disadvantages of unmarried Church members 
who were not locked up in Church schools. Conse- 
quently, far from urging the adolescent to think upon 
her soul the native pastor advises her to wait until she 
is older, which she is only too glad to do. 

But, especially in the case of our Protestant churches, 
there is a strong preference among us for the appeal 
to youth. The Reformation, with its emphasis upon 
individual choice, was unwilling to accept the tacit 
habitual Church membership which was the Catholic 




pattern, a membership marked by additional sacra- 
mental gifts but demanding no sudden conversion, no 
renewal of religious feeling. But the Protestant solu- 
tion is to defer the choice only so far as necessary, and 
the moment the child reaches an age which may be 
called "years of discretion" it makes a strong, dramatic 
appeal. This appeal is reinforced by parental and 
social pressure 3 the child is bidden to choose now and 
wisely. While such a position in the churches which 
stem from the Reformation and its strong emphasis on 
individual choice was historically inevitable, it is regret- 
table that the convention has lasted so long. It has 
even been taken over by non-sectarian reform groups, 
all of whom regard the adoles cent child as the mos t 
legitimate field . of . act i vity. 

In all of these comparisons between Samoan and 
American culture, many points are useful only in 
throwing a spotlight upon our own solutions, while in 
others it is possible to find suggestions for change. 
Whether or not we envy other peoples one of their 
solutions, our attitude towards our own solutions must 
be greatly broadened and deepened by a consideration 
of the way in which other peoples have met the same 
problems. Realising that our own ways are not hu- ' 
manly inevitable nor God-ordained, but are the fruit \ 
of a long and turbulent history, we may well examine 
in turn all of our institutions, thrown into strong relief 
against the history of other civilisations, and weighing 
them in the balance, be not afraid to find them wanting. 



WE have been comparing point for point, our civili- 
sation and the simpler civilisation of Samoa, in order 
to illuminate our own methods of education. If now 
we turn from the Samoan picture and take away only 
the main lesson which we learned there, that adoles- 
cence is not necessarily a time of stress and strain, but 
that cultural conditions make it so, can we draw any 
conclusions which might bear fruit In the training of 
our adolescents? 
\ At first blush the answer seems simple enough. If 
. adolescents are only plunged into difficulties and dis- 
tress because of conditions in their social environment, 
then by all means let us so modify that environment 
as to reduce this stress and eliminate this strain and 
anguish of adjustment. But, unfortunately, the condi- 
tions which vex our adolescents are the flesh and bone 
of our society, no more subject to straightforward 
manipulation upon our part than is the language which 
we speak. We can alter a syllable here, a construction 
there J but the great and far-reaching changes in lin- 
guistic structure (as in all parts of culture) are the 
work of time, a work in which each individual plays 
an unconscious and inconsiderable part. The principal 



causes of our adolescents' difficulty are the presence of 
conflicting standards and the belief that every indi- 
vidual should make his or her own choices, coupled 
with a feeling that choice is an important matter. Given! 
these cultural attitudes, adolescence, regarded now not 
as a period of physiological change, for we know that 
physiological puberty need not produce conflict, but as 
the beginning of mental and emotional maturity, is 
bound to be filled with conflicts and difliculties. A so- 
ciety which is clamouring for choice, which is filled 
with many articulate groups, each urging its own brand 
of salvation, its own variety of economic philosophy, 
will give each new generation no peace until all have 
chosen or^one under, unable to bear the conditions of 
choice. The stress is in our civilisation, not in the 
physical changes through which our children pass^.but it 
is none the less real nor the less inevitable in twentieth- 
century America. 

And if we look at the particular forms which this 
need for choice takes, the difliculty of the adolescent's 
position is only documented further. Because the dis- 
cussion is principally concerned with girls, I shall dis- 
cuss the problem from the girls' point of view, but in 
many respects the plight of the adolescent boy is very 
similar. Between fourteen and eighteen, the average 
American boy and girl finish school. They are now 
ready to go to work and must choose what type of 
work they wish to do. It might be argued that they 
often have remarkably little choice. Their education. 


the part of the country in which they live, their skill 
with their hands, will combine to dictate choice perhaps 
between the job of cash girl in a department store or 
of telephone operator, or of clerk or miner. But small 
as Is the number of choices open to them in actuality, 
the significance of this narrow field of opportunity is 
blurred by our American theory of endlejs_possibilides. 
Moving pictufeTlfiagazine, newspaper, all reiterate the 
Cinderella story in one form or another, and often the 
interest lies as much in the way cash girl 456 becomes 
head buyer as in her subsequent nuptials with the 
owner of the store. Our occupational classes are not 
fixed. So many children are better educated and hold 
more skilled positions than their parents that even the 
ever-present discrepancy between opportunities open to 
men and opportunities open to women, although pres- 
ent in a girl's competition with her brother, is often 
absent as between her unskilled father and herself. It 
is needless to argue that these attitudes are products 
of conditions which no longer exist, particularly the 
presence of a frontier and a large amount of free land 
which provided a perpetual alternative of occupational 
choice. A set which was given to our thinking in pio- 
neer days is preserved in other terms. As long as we 
have immigrants from non-English-speaking countries, 
the gap in opportunities between non-English-speaking 
parents and English-speaking children will be vivid and 
dramatic. Until our standard of education becomes far 
more stable than it is at present, the continual raising 



of the age and grade until which schooling is compul- 
sory ensures a wide educational gap between many par- 
ents and their children. And occupational shifts like 
the present movements of farmers and farm workers 
into urban occupations, give the same picture. When 
the agricultural worker pictures urban work as a step 
up in the social scale, and the introduction of scientific 
farming is so radically reducing the numbers needed 
in agriculture, the movement of young people born on 
the farm to city jobs is bound to dazzle the imagina- 
tion of our farming states during the next generation 
at least. The substitution of machines for unskilled 
workers and the absorption of many of the workers 
and their children into positions where they manipulate 
machines affords another instance of the kind of his- 
torical change which keeps our myth of endless oppor- 
tunity alive. Add to these special features, like the 
eifect upon the prospects of Negro children of the tre- 
mendous exodus from the southern corn fields, or upon 
the children of New England mill-hands who are de- 
prived of an opportunity to follow dully in their par- 
ents' footsteps and must at least seek new fields if not 
better ones. 

Careful students of the facts may tell us that class \ 
lines are becoming fixed j that while the children of 
immigrants make advances beyond their parents, they 
move up in stepj that there are fewer spectacular suc- 
cesses among them than there used to bej that it is 
much more possible to predict the future status of the 



child from the present status of the parent. But this 
measured comment of the statistician has not filtered 
into our literature, nor our moving pictures, nor in any 
way served to minimise the vividness of the improve- 
ment in the children's condition as compared with the 
condition of their parents. Especially in cities, there is 
no such obvious demonstration of the fact that im- 
provement is the rule for the children of a given class 
or district, and not merely a case of John Riley's mak- 
ing twenty dollars a week as a crossing man while Mary, 
his daughter, who has gone to business school, makes 
twenty-five dollars a week, working shorter hours. 
The lure of correspondence school advertising, the 
efflorescence of a doctrine of short-cuts to fame, all 
contrive to make an American boy or girl's choice of 
a job different from that of English children, born 
into a society where stratification is so old, so institu- 
tionalised, that the dullest cannot doubt it. So eco- 
nomic conditions force them to go to work and every- 
thing combines to make that choice a difficult one, 
whether in terms of abandoning a care-free existence 
for a confining, uncongenial one, or in terms of bitter 
rebellion against the choice which they must make in 
contrast to the opportunities which they are told are 
open to all Americans. 

And taking a job introduces other factors of difficulty 
into the adolescent girl's home situation. Her depend- 
ence has always been demonstrated in terms of limits 
and curbs set upon her spontaneous activity in every 



field from spending money to standards of dress and 
behaviour. Because of the essentially pecuniary nature 
of our society, the relationship of limitation in terms 
of allowance to limitation of behaviour are more far- 
reaching than in earlier times. Parental disapproval 
of extreme styles of clothing would formerly have 
expressed itself in a mother's making her daughter's 
dresses high in the neck and long in the sleeve. Now 
it expresses itself in control through money. If Mary 
doesn't stop purchasing chiffon stockings, Mary shall 
have no money to buy stockings. Similarly, a taste for 
cigarettes and liquor can only be gratified through 
money J going to the movies, buying books and maga- 
zines of which her parents disapprove, are all depend- 
ent upon a girl's having the money, as well as upon 
her eluding more direct forms of control. And the 
importance of a supply of money in gratifying all of 
a girl's desires for clothes and for amusement makes 
money the easiest channel through which to exert pa- 
rental authority. So easy is it, that the threat of cut- 
ting off an allowance, taking away the money for the 
one movie a week or the coveted hat, has taken the 
place of the whippings and bread-and-water exiles 
which were favourite disciplinary methods in the last 
century. The parents come to rely upon this method 
of control. The daughters come to see all censoring 
of their behaviour, moral, religious or social, the eth- 
ical code and the slightest sumptuary provisions in 
terms of an economic threat. And then at sixteen or 



seventeen the daughter gets a job. No matter how 
conscientiously she may contribute her share to the 
expenses of the household, it is probably only in homes 
where a European tradition still lingers that the wage- 
earning daughter gives all of her earning to her par- 
ents. (This, of course, excludes the cases where the 
daughter supports her parents, where the vesting of 
the economic responsibility in her hands changes the 
picture of parental control in another fashion.) For 
the first time in her life, she has an income of her own, 
with no strings of morals or of manners attached to its 
use. Her parents' chief instrument of discipline is 
shattered at one blow, but not their desire to direct 
their daughters' lives. They have not pictured their 
exercise of control as the right of those who provide, 
to control those for whom they provide. They have 
pictured it in far more traditional terms, the right of 
parents to control their children, an attitude reinforced 
by years of practising such control. 

But the daughter is in the position of one who has 
yielded unwillingly to some one who held a whip in 
his hand, and now sees the whip broken. Her unwill- 
ingness to obey, her chafing under special parental re- 
strictions which children accept as inevitable in simpler 
cultures, is again a feature of our conglomerate civili- 
sation. When all the children in the community go to 
bed at curfew, one child is not as likely to rail against 
her parents for enforcing the rule. But when the little 
girl next door is allowed to stay up until eleven o'clock, 



why must Mary go to bed at eight? If all of her com- 
panions at school are allowed to smoke, why can't she? 
And conversely, for it is a question of the absence of 
a common standard far more than of the nature of the 
standards, if all the other little girls are given lovely 
fussy dresses and hats with flowers and ribbons, why 
must she be dressed in sensible, straight linen dresses 
and simple round hats? Barring an excessive and pas- 
sionate devotion of the children to their parents, a de- 
votion of a type which brings other more serious diffi- 
culties in its wake, children in a heterogeneous civili- 
sation will not accept unquestioningly their parents' 
judgment, and the most obedient will temper present 
compliance with the hope of future emancipation. 

In a primitive, homogenous community, disciplinary 
measures of parents are expended upon securing small 
concessions from children, in correcting the slight de- 
viations which occur within one pattern of behaviour. 
But in our society, home discipline is used to establish 
one set of standards as over against other sets of stand- 
ards,; each family group is fighting some kind of battle, 
bearing the onus of those who follow a middle course, 
stoutly defending a cause already lost in the commu- 
nity at large, or valiantly attempting to plant a new 
standard far in advance of their neighbours. This 
propagandist aspect greatly increases the importance of 
home discipline in the development of a girPs person- 
ality. So we have the picture of parents, shorn of their 
economic authority, trying to coerce the girl who still 




lives beneath their roof into an acceptance of standards 
against which she is rebelling. In this attempt they 
often find themselves powerless and as a result the 
control of the home breaks down suddenly, and breaks 
down just at the point where the girl, faced with other 
important choices, needs a steadying home environ- 

It is at about this time that sex begins to play a role 
in the girPs life, and here also conflicting choices are 
presented to her. If she chooses the freer standards 
of her own generation, she comes in conflict with her 
parents, and perhaps more importantly with the ideals 
which her parents have instilled. The present problem 
of the sex experimentation of young people would be 
greatly simplified if it were conceived of as experi- 
mentation instead of as rebellion, if no Puritan self- 
accusations vexed their consciences. The introduction of 
an experimentation so much wider and more dangerous 
presents sufficient problems in our lack of social canons 
for such behaviour. For a new departure in the field 
of personal relations is always accompanied by the 
failure of those who are not strong enough to face an 
unpatterned situation. Canons of honour, of personal 
obligation, of the limits of responsibilities, grow up 
only slowly. And, of first experimenters, many perish 
in uncharted seas. But when there is added to the pit- 
falls of experiment, the suspicion that the experiment 
is wrong and the need for secrecy, lying, fear, the 
strain is so great that frequent downfall is inevitable. 



And if the girl chooses the other course, decides to 
remain true to the tradition of the last generation, she 
wins the sympathy and support of her parents at the 
expense of the comradeship of her contemporaries. 
Whichever way the die falls, the choice is attended by 
mental anguish. Only occasional children escape by 
various sorts of luck, a large enough group who have 
the same standards so that they are supported either 
against their parents or against the majority of their 
age mates, or by absorption in some other interest. 
But, with the exception of students for whom the prob- 
lem of personal relations is sometimes mercifully de- 
ferred for a later settlement, those who find some 
other interest so satifying that they take no interest in 
the other sex, often find themselves old maids without 
any opportunity to recoup their positions. The fear 
of spinsterhood is a fear which shadows the life of 
no primitive woman j it is another item of maladjust- 
ment which our civilisation has produced. 

To the problem of present conduct are added all the 
perplexities introduced by varying concepts of mar- • 
riage, the conflict between deferring marriage until a 
competence is assured, or marrying and sharing the 
expenses of the home with a struggling young husband. 
The knowledge of birth control, while greatly digni- 
fying human life by introducing the element of choice 
at the point where human beings have before been 
most abjectly subject to nature, introduces further 
perplexities. It complicates the issue from a straight \ 




marriage-home-and-children plan o£ life versus inde- 
pendent spinsterhood by permitting marriages without 
children, earlier marriages, marriages and careers, sex 
relations without marriage and the responsibility of a 
home. And because the majority of girls still wish to 
marry and regard their occupations as stop-gaps, these 
problems not only influence their attitude towards men, 
but also their attitude towards their work, and prevent 
them from having a sustained interest in the work 
which they are forced to do. 

Then we must add to the difficulties inherent in a 
new economic status and the necessity of adopting some 
standard of sex relations, ethical and religious issues 
to be solved. Here again the home is a powerful fac- 
tor j the parents use every ounce of emotional pressure 
to enlist their children in one of the dozen armies of 
salvation. The stress of the revival meeting, the pres- 
sure of pastor and parent gives them no peace. And 
the basic difficulties of reconciling the teachings of au- 
thority with the practices of society and the findings 
of science, all trouble and perplex children already 
harassed beyond endurance. 

Granting that society presents too many problems 
to her adolescents, demands too many momentous de- 
cisions on a few months' notice, what is to be done 
about it? One panacea suggested would be to postpone 
at least some of the decisions, keep the child econom- 
ically dependent, or segregate her from all contact with 
the other sex, present her with only one set of religious 



ideas until she is older, more poised, better able to deal 
critically with the problems which will confront her. 
In a less articulate fashion, such an idea is back of 
various schemes for the prolongation of youth, through 
raising the working age, raising the school age, shield- 
ing school children from a knowledge of contro- 
versies like evolution versus fundamentalism, or any 
knowledge of sex hygiene or birth control. Even if 
such measures, specially initiated and legislatively en- 
forced, could accomplish the end which they seek and 
postpone the period of choice, it is doubtful whether 
such a development would be desirable. It is unfair 
that very young children should be the battleground 
for conflicting standards, that their development should 
be hampered by propagandist attempts to enlist and 
condition them too young. It is probably equally un- 
fair to culturally defer the decisions too late. Loss of 
one's fundamental religious faith is more of a wrench 
at thirty than at fifteen simply in terms of the number 
of years of acceptance which have accompanied the 
belief. A sudden knowledge of hitherto unsuspected 
aspects of sex, or a shattering of all the old conventions 
concerning sex behaviour, is more difficult just in terms 
of the strength of the old attitudes. Furthermore, in 
practical terms, such schemes would be as they are now, 
merely local, one state legislating against evolution, 
another against birth control, or one religious group 
segregating its unmarried girls. And these special 
local movements would simply unfit groups of young 



people for competing happily with children who had 
been permitted to make their choices earlier. Such an 
educational scheme, in addition to being almost impos- 
sible of execution, would be a step backward and would 
only beg the question. 
|/ Instead, we must turn all of our educational efforts 
,1 to training our children for the choices which will con- 
■] front them. Education, in the home even more than 
at school, instead of being a special pleading for one 
regime, a desperate attempt to form one particular 
habit of mind which will withstand all outside influ- 
ences, must be a preparation for those very influences. 
Such an education must give far more attention to 
mental and physical hygiene than it has given hitherto. 
The child who is to choose wisely must be healthy in 
mind and body, handicapped in no preventable fashion. 
^And even more importantly, this child of the future 
/ must have an open mind. The home must cease to 
1 plead an ethical cause or a religious belief with smiles 
Uor frowns, caresses or threats. The children must be 
/taught how to think, not what to think. And because 
i / old errors die slowly, they must be taught tolerance, 
/ just as to-day they are taught intolerance. They must 
/ be taught that many ways are open to them, no one 
— Sanctioned above its alternative, and that upon them 
and upon them alone lies the burden of choice. Un- 
hampered by prejudices, unvexed by too early condi- 
tioning to any one standard, they must come clear-eyed 
to the choices which lie before them. 



For it must be realised by any_ studerit i)f civilisa-tion . 

that we pay heavily for our heterogeneous, rapidly - 

changing civilisation j we pay in high proportions_ of ^/ 

crime and delinquency, we pay in the conflicts of youth, 
we pay in an ever-increasing number of neuroses, we 
pay in the lack of a coherent tradition without which 
the development of art is sadly handicapped. In such 
a list of "prices, 'we must count our gains carefully, not 
to be discouraged. And chief among our gains must 
be reckoned this possibility of choice, the recognition of 
many possible ways of life, where other civilisations 
have recognised only one. Where other civilisations 
give a satisfactory outlet to only one temperamental 
type, be he mystic or soldier, business man or artist, a 
civilisation in which there are many standards ofFers a 
possibility of satisfactory adjustment to individuals of 
many different temperamental types, of diverse gifts 
and varying interests. 

At the present time we live in a period of transition. 
We have many standards but we still believe that only 
one standard can be the right one. We present to our 
children the picture of a battle-field where each group 
is fully armoured in a conviction of the righteousness 
of its cause. And each of these groups make forays 
among the next generation. But it is unthinkable that 
a final recognition of the great number of ways in 
which man, during the course of history and at the 
present time, is solving the problems of life, should 
not bring with it in turn the downfall of our belief in 



a single standard. And when no one group claims 
ethical sanction for its customs, and each group wel- 
comes to its midst only those who are temperamentally 
fitted for membership, then we shall have realised the 
high point of individual choice and universal tolera- 
tion which a heterogeneous culture and a heterogeneous 
culture alone can attain. Samoa knows but one way of 
life and teaches it to her children. Will we, who have 
the knowledge of many ways, leave our children free 
to choose among them? 




Pages 43 to 45. 

In the Samoan classification of relatives two principles, sex 
and age, are of the most primary importance. Relationship 
terms are never used as terms of address, a name or nickname 
being used even to father or mother. Relatives of the same 
age or within a year or two younger to five or ten years older 
are classified as of the speaker's generation, and of the same 
sex or of the opposite sex. Thus a girl will call her sister, 
her aunt, her niece, and her female cousin who are nearly of 
the same age, usoy and a boy will do the same for his brother, 
uncle, nephew, or male cousin. For relationships between 
siblings of opposite sex there are two terms, tuafafine and 
tuaganey female relative of the same age group of a male, and 
male relative of the same age group of a female. (The term 
uso has no such subdivisions.) 

The next most important term is applied to younger rela- 
tives of either sex, the word tet. Whether a child is so classi- 
fied by an older relative depends not so much on how many 
years younger the child may be, but rather on the amount of 
care that the elder has taken of it. So a girl will call a cousin 
two years younger than herself her teiy if she has lived near by, 
but an equally youthful cousin who has grown up in a distant 
village until both are grown will be called uso. It is notable 
that there is no term for elder relative. The terms usoy tufa- 
fine and tuagane all carry the feeling of contemporaneousness, 



and if it is necessary to specify seniority, a qualifying adjective 
must be used. 

Tamay the term for father, is applied also to the matai of 
a household, to an uncle or older cousin with whose authority 
a younger person comes into frequent contact and also to a 
much older brother who in feeling is classed with the parent 
generation. Tina is used only a little less loosely for the 
mother, aunts resident in the household, the wife of the matai 
and only very occasionally for an older sister. 

A distinction is also made in terminology between men's 
terms and women's terms for the children. A woman will 
say tama (modified by the addition of the suffixes tane and 
fa fine y male and female) and a man will say ataliiy son and 
afafinCy daughter. Thus a woman will say, "Losa is my 
tama" specifying her sex only when necessary. But Losa's 
father will speak of Losa as his afafine. The same usage is 
followed in speaking to a man or to a woman of a child. All 
of these terms are further modified by the addition of the 
word, moniy real, when a blood sister or blood father or 
mother is meant. The elders of the household are called 
roughly matuay and a grandparent is usually referred to as the 
toa^inuy the "old man" or olamatuay "old woman," adding 
an explanatory clause if necessary. All other relatives are 
described by the use of relative clauses, "the sister of the hus- 
band of the sister of my mother," "the brother of the wife 
of my brother," etc. There are no special terms for the in- 
law group. 


Neighbourhood Maps 

Pages 60 to 65. 

For the sake of convenience the households were numbered 
in sequence from one end of each village to the other. The 



houses did not stretch in a straight line along the beach, but 
were located so unevenly that occasionally one house was di- 
rectly behind another. A schematic linear representation will, 
however, be sufficient to show the effect of location in the for- 
mation of neighbourhood groups. 


(The name of the girl will be placed under the number of 
the household. Adolescent girls' names in capitals, girls' just 
reaching puberty in lower case and the pre-adolescent children 
in italics.) 


2 3 



5 6 

Maliu . Lust 






II 12 


14 15 
Lota Pala 






20 21 22 



24 25 
Tulipa Masina 







29 30 

Aso Selu 
Suna Tol( 


I 32 




(Household 38 in Siufaga is adjacent to household i in 
Luma. The two villages are geographically continuous but 
socially they are separate units.) 


Vina Namu Lita * 



7 8 

II 12 13 


21 22 23 

Pulona Ipu Tasi 

31 32 33 

LuA Simina 

14 15 16 17 il 
Lilina Tino Mala 

24 25 


27 28 


19 20 

Lola * 

29 30 

34 35 36 37 


So lata 



(Faleasao was separated from Luma by a high cliff which 
jutted out into the sea and made it necessary to take an inland 
trail to get from one seaside village to the other. This was 
about a twenty-minute walk from Tau. Faleasao children 
were looked upon with much greater hostility and suspicion 
than that which the children of Luma and Siufaga showed to 
each other. The pre-adolescent children from this village are 
not discussed by name and will be indicated by an x.) 



XXX Talo Ela 

X X 



9 10 


12 13 14 15 16 



19 20 




X Mata 


X X 


* Girls to whom a change of residence made important differences, 
see Chap. XI, "The Girl in Conflict." 



21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 


Pages 123 to 125. 

The first person singular of the verb "to know," used in 
the negative, has two forms: 

Ta ilo (Contraction of Ta te le iloa) 

I euphonic neg. know 

Ua le iloa a'u 

Pres. neg. know I 


The former of these expressions has a very different mean- 
ing from the latter although linguistically they represent op- 
tional syntactic forms, the second being literally, "I do not 
know," while the first can best be rendered by the slang phrase, 
"Search me." This "Search me" carries no implication of lack 
of actual knowledge or information about the subject in ques- 
tion but is merely an indication either of lack of interest or 
unwillingness to explain. That the Samoans feel this distinc- 
tion very clearly is shown by the frequent use of both forms 
in the same sentence: Ta ilo ua le iloa a^u. "Search me, I 
don't know." 

Page 126. 

Sample Character Sketches Given of Members of 
Their Households by Adolescent Girls 

(Literal translations from dictated texts) 


He is an untitled man. He works hard on the plantation. 
He is tall, thin and dark-skinned. He is not easily angered. 



He goes to work and comes again at night. He is a police- 
man. He does work for the government. He is not filled 
with unwillingness. He is attractive looking. He is not mar- 


She is an old woman. She is very old. She is weak. She 
is not able to work. She can only remain in the house. Her 
hair is black. She is fat. She has elephantiasis in one leg. 
She has no teeth. She is not irritable. She does not hate. She 
is clever at weaving mats, fishing baskets and food trays. 


She is strong and able to work. She goes inland. She 
weeds and makes the oven and picks breadfruit and gathers 
paper mulberry bark. She is kind. She is of good conduct. 
She is clever at weaving baskets and mats and fine mats and 
food trays, and painting tapa cloth and scraping and pounding 
and pasting paper mulberry bark. She is short, black-haired 
and dark-skinned. She is fat. She is good. If any one passes 
by she is kindly disposed towards them and calls out, "Po'o 
fea 'e te maliu i ai?" (a most courteous way of asking, 
"Where are you going?") 


She is fat. She has long hair. She is dark-skinned. She is 
blind in one eye. She is of good behaviour. She is clever at 
weeding taro and weaving floor mats and fine mats. She is 
short. She has borne children. There is a baby. She remains 
in the house on some days and on other days she goes inland. 
She also knows how to weave baskets. 

He is a boy. His skin is dark. So is his hair. He goes to 
the bush to work. He works on the taro plantation. He 



likes every one. He is clever at weaving baskets. He sings 
in the choir of the young men on Sunday. He likes very 
much to consort with the girls. He was expelled from the 
pastor's house. 


Portrait of herself 

I am a girl. I am short. I have long hair. I love my 
sisters and all the people. I know how to weave baskets and 
fishing baskets and how to prepare paper mulberry bark. I 
live in the house of the pastor. 


He is a man. He is strong. He goes inland and works 
upon the plantation of his relatives. He goes fishing. He 
goes to gather cocoanuts and breadfruit and cooking leaves 
and makes the oven. He is tall. He is dark-skinned. He is 
rather fat. His hair is short. He is clever at weaving bas- 
kets. He braids the palm leaf thatching mats for the house.* 
He is also clever at house-building. He is of good conduct 
and has a loving countenance. 


She is a woman. She can't work hard enough (to suit her- 
self). She is also clever at weaving baskets and fine mats and 
at bark cloth making. She also makes the ovens and clears 
away the rubbish around the house. She keeps her house in 
fine condition. She makes the fire. She smokes. She goes 
fishing and gets octopuses and tu'itu'i (sea eggs) and comes 
back and eats them raw. She is kind-hearted and of loving 
countenance. She is never angry. She also loves her children. 

* Women's work. 




She is a woman. She has a son, is his name. She 

is lazy. She is tall. She is thin. Her hair is long. She is 
clever at weaving baskets, making bark cloth and weaving fine 
mats. Her husband is dead. She does not laugh often. She 
stays in the house some days and other days she goes inland. 
She keeps everything clean. She lives well upon bananas. She 
has a loving face. She is not easily out of temper. She makes 
the oven. 


She is the daughter of . She is a little girl about 

my age. She is also clever at weaving baskets and mats and 
fine mats and blinds and floor mats. She is good in school. 
She also goes to get leaves and breadfruit. She also goes fish- 
ing when the tide is out. She gets crabs and jelly fish. She 
is very loving. She does not eat up all her food if others ask 
her for it. She shows a loving face to all who come to her 
house. She also spreads food for all visitors. 


Portrait of herself 

I am clever at weaving mats and fine mats and baskets and 
blinds and floor mats. I go and carry water for all of my 
household to drink and for others also. I go and gather ba- 
nanas and breadfruit and leaves and make the oven with my 
sisters. Then we (herself and her sisters) go fishing to- 
gether and then it is night. 


Pages 132 to 133. 

The children of this age already show a very curious exam- 
ple of a phonetic self-consciousness in which they are almost 



as acute and discriminating as their elders. When the mis- 
sionaries reduced the language to writing, there was no k in 
the language, the k positions in otlier Polynesian dialects being 
filled in Samoan either with a ^ or a glottal stop. Soon after 
the printing of the Bible, and the standardisation of Samoan 
spelling, greater contact with Tonga introduced the k into the 
spoken language of Savai'i and Upolu, displacing the ty but 
not replacing the glottal stop. Slowly this intrusive usage 
spread eastward over Samoa, the missionaries who controlled 
the schools and the printing press fighting a dogged and losing 
battle with the less musical k. To-day the t is the sound used 
in the speech of the educated and in the church, still conven- 
tionally retained in all spelling and used in speeches and on 
occasions demanding formality. The Manu'a children who 
had never been to the missionary boarding schools, used the k 
entirely. But they had heard the t in church and at school 
and were sufficiently conscious of the difference to rebuke me 
immediately if I slipped into the colloquial ky which was their 
only speech habit, uttering the t sound for perhaps the first 
time in their lives to illustrate the correct pronunciation from 
which I, who was ostensibly learning to speak correctly, must 
not deviate. Such an ability to disassociate the sound used 
from the sound heard is remarkable in such very young chil- 
dren and indeed remarkable in any person who is not lin- 
guistically sophisticated. 


Pages i6i to 163. 

During six months I saw six girls leave the pastor's estab- 
lishment for several reasons: Tasi, because her mother was 
ill and she, that rare phenomenon, the eldest in a biological 
household, was needed at home; Tua, because she had come 
out lowest in the missionaries' annual examination which her 



mother attributed to favouritism on the part of the pastor; 
Luna, because her stepmother, whom she disliked, left her 
father and thus made her home more attractive and because 
under the influence of a promiscuous older cousin she began 
to tire of the society of younger girls and take an interest in 
love affairs; Lita, because her father ordered her home, be- 
cause with the permission of the pastor, but without consult- 
ing her family, she went off for a three weeks' visit in an- 
other island. Going home for Lita involved residence in the 
far end of the other village, necessitating a complete change 
of friends. The novelty of the new group and new interests 
kept her from in any way chafing at the change. Sala, a 
stupid idle girl, had eloped from the household of the pastor. 




It is impossible to present a single and unified picture of 
the adolescent girl in Samoa and at the same time to answer 
most satisfactorily the various kinds of questions which such 
a study will be expected to answer. For the ethnologist in 
search of data upon the usages and rites connected with ado- 
lescence it is necessary to include descriptions of customs which 
have fallen into partial decay under the impact of western 
propaganda and foreign example. Traditional observances 
and attitudes are also important in the study of the adolescent 
girl in present-day Samoa because they still form a large part 
of the thought pattern of her parents, even if they are no 
longer given concrete expression in the girl's cultural life. 
But this double necessity of describing not only the present 
environment and the girl's reaction to it, but also of inter- 
polating occasionally some description of the more rigid cul- 
tural milieu of her mother's girlhood, mars to some extent 
the unity of the study. 

The detailed observations were all made upon a group of 
girls living in three practically contiguous villages on one 
coast of the island of Tau. The data upon the ceremonial 
usages surrounding birth, adolescence and marriage were gath- 
ered from all of the seven villages in the Manu'a Archipelago. 

The method of approach is based upon the assumption that 
a detailed intensive investigation will be of more value than 
a more diffused and general study based upon a less accurate 
knowledge of a greater number of individuals. Dr. Van 
Waters' study of The Adolescent Girl Among Primitive 



Peoples has exhausted the possibilities of an investigation based 
upon the merely external observations of the ethnologist vv^ho 
is giving a standardised description of a primitive culture. We 
have a huge mass of general descriptive material without the 
detailed observations and the individual cases in the light of 
which it would be possible to interpret it. 

The writer therefore chose to work in one small locality, 
in a group numbering only six hundred people, and spend six 
months accumulating an intimate and detailed knowledge of 
all the adolescent girls in this community. As there were 
only sixty-eight girls between the ages of nine and twenty, 
quantitative statements are practically valueless for obvious 
reasons: the probable error of the group is too large; the age 
classes are too small, etc. The only point at which quantita- 
tive statements can have any relevance is in regard to the 
variability within the group, as the smaller the variability 
within the sample, the greater the general validity of the 

Furthermore, the type of data which we needed is not of 
the sort which lends itself readily to quantitative treatment. 
The reaction of the girl to her stepmother, to relatives acting 
as foster parents, to her younger sister, or to her older brother, 
— these are incommensurable in quantitative terms. As the 
physician and the psychiatrist have found it necessary to describe 
each case separately and to use their cases as illumination of a 
thesis rather than as irrefutable proof such as it is possible to 
adduce in the physical sciences, so the student of the more in- 
tangible and psychological aspects of human behaviour is 
forced to illuminate rather than demonstrate a thesis. The 
composition of the background against which the girl acts can 
be described in accurate and general terms, but her reactions 
are a function of her own personality and cannot be described 
without reference to it. The generalisations are based upon 
a careful and detailed observation of a small group of sub- 



jects. These results will be illuminated and illustrated by 
case histories. 

The conclusions are also all subject to the limitation of the 
personal equation. They are the judgments of one individual 
upon a mass of data, many of the most significant aspects of 
which can, by their very nature, be known only to herself. 
This was inevitable and it can only be claimed in extenuation 
that as the personal equation was held absolutely constant, the 
different parts of the data are strictly commensurable. The 
judgment on the reaction of Lola to her uncle and of Sona 
to her cousin are made on exactly the same basis. 

Another methodological device which possibly needs expla- 
nation is the substitution of a cross sectional study for a linear 
one. Twenty-eight children who as yet showed no signs of 
puberty, fourteen children who would probably mature within 
the next year or year and a half, and twenty-five girls who 
had passed puberty within the last four years but were not yet 
classed by the community as adults^ were studied in detail. 
Less intensive observations were also made upon the very little 
children and the young married women. Thus_jmethod^ of 
taking cross sections, samples of individuals at different periods 
j of physic al development, and arguing that a^roup in a n earHer 
stage jyilj_ljter_show„th^e__chajj.cter istics which appe ar in an- 
other group at a later stage,^s, of course, inferior to a l inear 
Ijudyjnjwhichjhe same group is under observatioxL^or a XLum- 
^er of years. A very large number of cases has usually been 
the only acceptable defence of such a procedure. The num- 
ber of cases included in this investigation, while very small 
in comparison with the numbers mustered by any student of 
American children, is nevertheless a fair-sized sample in terms 
of the very small population of Samoa (a rough eight thou- 
sand in all four islands of American Samoa) and because the 
only selection was geographical. It may further be argued 
that the almost drastic character of the conclusions, the exceed- 



ingly few exceptions which need to be made, further validate 
the size of the sample. The adoption of the cross section 
method was, of course, a matter of expediency, but the results 
when carefully derived from a fair sample, may be fairly 
compared with the results obtained by using the linear method, 
when the same subjects are under observation over a period of 
years. This is true when the conclusions to be drawn are gen- 
eral and not individual. For the purposes of psychological 
theory, it is sufficient to know that children in a certain society 
walk, on the average, at twelve months, and talk, on the aver- 
age, at fifteen months. For the purposes of the diagnostician, 
it is necessary to know that John walked at eighteen months 
and did not talk until twenty months. So, for general theo- 
retical purposes, it is enough to state that little girls just past 
puberty develop a shyness and lack of self-possession in the 
presence of boys, but if we are to understand the delinquency 
of Mala, it is necessary to know that she prefers the company 
of boys to that of girls and has done so for several years. 


The description of the cultural background was obtained 
in orthodox fashion, first through interviews with carefully 
chosen informants, followed by checking up their statements 
with other informants and by thq use of many examples and 
test cases. With a few unimportant" exceptions this material 
was obtained in the Samoan language and not through the 
medium of interpreters. All of the work with individuals 
was done in the native language, as there were no young peo- 
ple on the island who spoke English. 

Although a knowledge of the entire culture was essential 
for the accurate evaluation of any particular individual's be- 
haviour, a detailed description will be given only of those 
aspects of the culture which are immediately relevant to the 



problem of the adolescent girl. For example, if I observe 
Pele refuse point blank to carry a message to the house of a 
relative, it is important to know whether she is actuated by 
stubbornness, dislike of the relative, fear of the dark, or fear 
of the ghost which lives near by and has a habit of jumping 
on people's backs. But to the reader a detailed exposition of 
the names and habits of all the local ghost population would 
be of little assistance in the appreciation of the main problem. 
So all descriptions of the culture which are not immediately 
relevant are omitted from the discussion but were not omitted 
from the original investigation. Their irrelevancy has, there- 
fore, been definitely ascertained. 

The knowledge of the general cultural pattern was sup- 
plemented by a detailed study of the social structure of the 
three villages under consideration. Each household was ana- 
lysed from the standpoint of rank, wealth, location, contiguity 
to other households, relationship to other households, and the 
age, sex, relationship, marital status, number of children, 
former residence, etc., of each individual in the household. 
This material furnished a general descriptive basis for a fur- 
ther and more careful analysis of the households of the sub- 
jects, and also provided a check on the origin of feuds or al- 
liances between individuals, the use of relationship terms, etc. 
Each child was thus studied against a background which was 
known in detail. 

A further mass of detailed information was obtained about 
the subjects: approximate age (actual age can never be deter- 
mined in Samoa), order of birth, numbers of brothers and 
sisters, who were older and younger than the subject, number 
of marriages of each parent, patrilocal and matrilocal resi- 
dence, years spent in the pastor's school and in the government 
school and achievement there, whether the child had ever been 
out of the village or oif the island, sex experience, etc. The 
children were also given a makeshift intelligence test, colour- 



naming, rote memory, opposites, substitution, ball and field, 
and picture interpretation. These tests were all given in 
Samoan; standardisation was, of course, impossible and ages 
were known only relatively; they were mainly useful in assist- 
ing me in placing the child within her group, and have no 
value for comparative purposes. The results of the tests did 
indicate, however, a very low variability within the group. 
The tests were supplemented by a questionnaire which was not 
administered formally but filled in by random questioning 
from time to time. This questionnaire gave a measure of 
their industrial knowledge, the extent to which they partici- 
pated in the lore of the community, of the degree to which 
they had absorbed European teaching in matters like telling 
time, reading the calendar, and also of the extent to which 
they had participated in or witnessed scenes of death, birth, 
miscarriage, etc. 

But this quantitative data represents the barest skeleton of 
the material which was gathered through months of observa- 
tion of the individuals and of groups, alone, in their house- 
holds, and at play. From these observations, the bulk of the 
conclusions are drawn concerning the attitudes of the children 
towards their families and towards each other, their religious 
interests or the lack of them, and the details of their sex lives. 
This information cannot be reduced to tables or to statistical 
statements. Naturally in many cases it was not as full as in 
others. In some cases it was necessary to pursue a more exten- 
sive enquiry in order to understand some baffling aspect of the 
child's behaviour. In all cases the investigation was pursued 
iintil I felt that I understood the girl's motivation and the 
degree to which her family group and affiliation in her age 
group explained her attitudes. 

The existence of the pastor's boarding-school for girls past 
puberty provided me with a rough control group. These girls 
were so severely watched that heterosexual activities were im- 



possible; they were grouped together with other girls of the 
sam age regardless of relationship; they ved a more ordered 
and regular life than the girls who remained in their house- 
holds. The ways in which they differed from other girls of 
the same age and more resembled European girls of the same 
age follow with surprising accuracy the lines suggested by the 
specific differences in environment. However, as they lived 
part of the time at home, the environmental break was not 
complete and their value as a control group is strictly limited. 





The scene of this study was the little island of Tau. Along 
one coast of the island, which rises precipitately to a mountain 
peak in the centre, cluster three little villages, Luma and 
Siufaga, side by side, and Faleasao, half a mile away. On 
the other end of the island is the isolated village of Fitiuta, 
separated from the other three villages by a long and arduous 
trail. Many of the people from the other villages have never 
been to Fitiuta, eight miles away. Twelve miles across the 
open sea are the two islands of Ofu and Olesega, which with 
Taij, make up the Manu'a Archipelago, the most primitive 
part of Samoa. Journeys in slender outrigger canoes from 
one of these three little islands to another are frequent, and 
the inhabitants of Manu'a think of themselves as a unit as 
over against the inhabitants of Tutuila, the large island where 
the Naval Station is situated. The three islands have a popu- 
lation of a little over two thousand people, with constant 
visiting, inter-marrying, adoption going on between the seven 
villages of the Archipelago. 

The natives still live in their beehive-shaped houses with 
floors of coral rubble, no walls except perishable woven blinds 
which are lowered in bad weather, and a roof of sugar-cane 
thatch over which it is necessary to bind palm branches in 
every storm. They have substituted cotton cloth for their 
laboriously manufactured bark cloth for use as everyday 
clothing, native costume being reserved for ceremonial occa- 
sions. But the men content themselves with a wide cotton 
loin cloth, the lavalava, fastened at the waist with a dexterous 



twist of the material. This costume permits a little of the 
tattooing which covers their bodies from knee to the small of 
the back, to appear above and below the folds of the lavalava. 
Tattooing has been taboo on Manu'a for two generations, 
so only a part of the population have made the necessary jour- 
ney to another island in search of a tattooer. Women wear a 
longer lavalava and a short cotton dress falling to their knees. 
Both sexes go barefoot and hats are worn only to Church, on 
which occasions the men don white shirts and white coats, 
ingeniously tailored by the native women in imitation of Palm 
Beach coats which have fallen into their hands. The women's 
tattooing is much sparser than the men's, a mere matter of 
dots and crosses on arms, hands, and thighs. Garlands of 
flowers, flowers in the hair, and flowers twisted about the 
ankles, serve to relieve the drabness of the faded cotton cloth- 
ing, and on gala days, beautifully patterned bark cloth, fine 
mats, gaily bordered with red parrot feathers, headdresses of 
human hair decorated with plumes and feathers, recall the 
more picturesque attire of pre-Christian days. 

Sewing-machines have been in use for many years, although 
the natives are still dependent upon some deft-handed sailor 
for repairs. Scissors have also been added to the household 
equipment, but wherever possible a Samoan woman still uses 
her teeth or a piece of bamboo. At the Missionary boarding- 
schools a few of the women have learned to crochet and 
embroider, using their skill particularly to ornament the 
plump, hard pillows which are rapidly displacing the little 
bamboo head rests. Sheets of white cotton have taken the 
place of sheets of firmly woven mats or of bark cloth. Mos- 
quito nets of cotton netting make a native house much more 
endurable than must have been the case when bark cloth tents 
were the only defence against insects. The netting is sus- 
pended at night from stout cords hung across the house, and 
the edges weighted down with stones, so that prowling dogs, 



pigs, and chickens wander through the house at will without 
disturbing the sleepers. 

Agate buckets share with hollowed cocoanut shells the work 
of bringing water from the springs and from the sea, and 
a few china cups and glasses co-operate with the cocoanut 
drinking cups. Many households have an iron cook pot in 
which they can boil liquids in preference to the older method 
of dropping red hot stones into a wooden vessel containing the 
liquid to be heated. Kerosene lamps and lanterns are used 
extensively; the old candle-nut clusters and cocoanut oil 
lamps being reinstated only in times of great scarcity when 
they cannot aiford to purchase kerosene. Tobacco is a much- 
prized luxury; the Samoans have learned to grow it, but im- 
ported varieties are very much preferred to their own. 

Outside the household the changes wrought by the intro- 
duction of European articles are very slight. The native uses 
an iron knife to cut his copra and an iron adze blade in place 
of the old stone one. But he still binds the rafters of his 
house together with cinet and sews the parts of his fishing 
canoes together. The building of large canoes has been aban- 
doned. Only small canoes for fishing are built now, and for 
hauling supplies over the reef the natives build keeled row- 
boats. Only short voyages are made in small canoes and row- 
boats, and the natives wait for the coming of the Naval ship 
to do their travelling. The government buys the copra and 
with the money so obtained the Samoans buy cloth, thread, 
kerosene, soap, matches, knives, belts, and tobacco, pay their 
taxes (levied on every man over a certain height as age is an 
indeterminate matter), and support the church. 

And yet, while the Samoans use these products of a more 
complex civilisation, they are not dependent upon them. With 
the exception of making and using stone tools, it is probably 
safe to say that none of the native arts have been lost. The 
women all make bark cloth and weave fine mats. Parturition 



still takes place on a piece of bark cloth, the umbilical cord is 
cut with a piece of bamboo, and the new baby is wrapped in 
a specially prepared piece of white bark cloth. If soap can- 
not be obtained, the wild orange provides a frothy substitute. 
The men still manufacture their own nets, make their own 
hooks, weave their own eel traps. And although they use 
matches when they can get them, they have not lost the art 
of converting a carrying stick into a fire plow at a moment's 

Perhaps most important of all is the fact that they still 
depend entirely upon their own foods, planted with a sharp- 
ened pole in their own plantations. Breadfruit, bananas, taro, 
yams, and cocoanuts form a substantial and monotonous ac- 
companiment for the fish, shell fish, land crabs, and occasional 
pigs and chickens. The food is carried down to the village 
in baskets, freshly woven from palm leaves. The cocoanuts 
are grated on the end of a wooden "horse," pointed with 
shell or iron; the breadfruit and taro are supported on a 
short stake, tufted with cocoanut husk, and the rind is grated 
off with a piece of cocoanut shell. The green bananas are 
skinned with a bamboo knife. The whole amount of food 
for a family of fifteen or twenty for two or three days is 
cooked at once in a large circular pit of stones. These are 
iirst heated to white heat; the ashes are then raked away; the 
food placed on the stones and the oven covered with green 
leaves, under which the food is baked thoroughly. Cooking 
over, the food is stored in baskets which are hung up inside 
the main house. It is served on palm leaf platters, garnished 
with a fresh banana leaf. Fingers are the only knives and 
forks, and a wooden finger bowl is passed ceremoniously about 
at the end of the meal. 

Furniture, with the exception of a few chests and cupboards, 
has not invaded the house. All life goes on on the floor. 
Speaking on one's feet within the house is still an unforgivable 



breach of etiquette, and the visitor must learn to sit cross- 
legged for hours without murmuring. 

The Samoans have been Christian for almost a hundred 
years. With the exception of a small number of Catholics 
and Mormons, all the natives of American Samoa are ad- 
herents of the London Missionary Society, known in Samoa 
as the "Church of Tahiti," from its local origin. The Con- 
gregationalist missionaries have been exceedingly successful in 
adapting the stern doctrine and sterner ethics of a British 
Protestant sect to the widely divergent attitudes of a group 
of South Sea islanders. In the Missionary boarding-schools 
they have trained many boys as native pastors and as mission- 
aries for other islands, and many girls to be the pastors' wives. 
The pastor's house is the educational as well as the religious 
centre of the village. In the pastor's school the children learn 
to read and write their own language, to which the early mis- 
sionaries adapted our script, to do simple sums and sing hymns. 
The missionaries have been opposed to teaching the natives 
English, or in any way weaning them away from such of the 
simplicity of their primitive existence as they have not ac- 
counted harmful. Accordingly, although the elders of the 
church preach excellent sermons and in many cases have an 
extensive knowledge of the Bible (which has been translated 
into Samoan), although they keep accounts, and transact 
lengthy business aifairs, they speak no English, or only very 
little of it. On Tau there were never more than half a 
dozen individuals at one time who had any knowledge of 

The Naval Government has adopted the most admirable 
policy of benevolent non-interference in native affairs. It 
establishes dispensaries and conducts a hospital where native 
nurses are trained. These nurses are sent out into the villages 
where they have surprising success in the administration of the 
very simple remedies at their command, castor oil, iodine, 



argyrol, alcohol rubs, etc. Through periodic administrations 
of salvarsan the more conspicuous symptoms of yaws are rap- 
idly disappearing. And the natives are learning to come to 
the dispensaries for medicine rather than aggravate conjunc- 
tivitis to blindness by applying irritating leaf poultices to the 
inflamed eyes. 

Reservoirs have been constructed in most of the villages, 
providing an unpolluted water supply at a central fountain 
where all the washing and bathing is done. Copra sheds in 
each village store the copra until the government ship comes 
to fetch it. Work on copra sheds, on village boats used in 
hauling the copra over the reef, on roads between villages, on 
the repairs of the water system, is carried through by a levy 
upon the village as a whole, conforming perfectly to the na- 
tive pattern of communal work. The government operates 
through appointed district governors and county chiefs, and 
elected "mayors" in each village. The administrations of 
these officials are peaceful and effective in proportion to the 
importance of their rank in the native social organisation. 
Each village also has two policemen who act as town criers, 
couriers on government inspections, and carriers of the nurses' 
equipment from village to village. There are also county 
judges. A main court is presided over by an American civil 
judge and a native judge. The penal code is a random com- 
bination of government edicts, remarkable for their tolerance 
of native custom. When no pronouncement on a point of 
law is found in this code, the laws of the state of California, 
liberally interpreted and revised, are used to provide a legal- 
istic basis for the court's decision. These courts have taken 
over the settlement of disputes concerning important titles, 
and property rights; and the chief causes of litigation in the 
"courthouse" at Pago Pago are the same which agitated the 
native fonos some hundred years ago. 

Schools are now maintained in many villages, where the 



children, seated cross-legged on the floor of a large native 
house, learn the haziest of English from boys whose knowl- 
edge of the language is little more extensive than theirs. 
They also learn part singing, at which they are extraordinarily 
adept, and to play cricket and many other games. The schools 
are useful in instilling elementary ideas of hygiene, and in 
breaking down the barriers between age and sex groups and 
narrow residential units. From the pupils in the outlying 
schools the most promising are selected to become nurses, 
teachers, and candidates for the native marine corps, the 
FkafitaSj who constitute the police, hospital corpsmen and in- 
terpreters for the naval administration. The Samoans' keen 
feeling for social distinction makes them particularly able to 
co-operate with a government in which there is a hierarchy 
of oflScialdom; the shoulder stars and bars are fitted into their 
own system of rank without confusion. When the Governor 
and group of officers pay an official visit, the native-talking 
chief distributes the kava, first to the Governor, then to the 
highest chief among the hosts, then to the Commander of the 
Naval Yard, then to the next highest chief, without any diffi- 

In all the descriptions of Samoan life, one of the points 
which must have struck the reader most forcibly is the ex- 
treme flexibility of the civilisation as it is found to-day. This 
flexibility is the result of the blending of the various European 
ideas, beliefs, mechanical devices, with the old primitive cul- 
ture. It is impossible to say whether it is due to some genius 
in the Samoan culture itself, or to fortunate accident, that 
these foreign elements have received such a thorough and 
harmonious acculturation. In many parts of the South Seas 
contact with white civilisation has resulted in the complete 
degeneration of native life, the loss of native techniques, 
and traditions, and the annihilation of the past. In Samoa 
this is not so. The growing child is faced by a smaller 



dilemma than that which confronts the American-born child 
of European parentage. The gap between parents and chil- 
dren is narrow and painless, showing few of the unfortunate 
aspects usually present in a period of transition. The new cul- 
ture, by offering alternative careers to the children has some- 
what lightened the parental yoke. But essentially the children 
are still growing up in a homogeneous community with a uni- 
form set of ideals and aspirations. The present ease of ado- 
lescence among Samoan girls which has been described cannot 
safely be attributed to a period of transition. The fact that 
adolescence can be a period of unstressed development is just 
as significant. Given no additional outside stimulus or attempt 
to modify conditions, Samoan culture might remain very much 
the same for two hundred years. 

But it is only fair to point out that Samoan culture, before 
white influence, was less flexible and dealt less kindly with the 
individual aberrant. Aboriginal Samoa was harder on the girl 
sex delinquent than is present-day Samoa. And the reader 
must not mistake the conditions which have been described for 
the aboriginal ones, nor for typical primitive ones. Present- 
day Samoan civilisation is simply the result of the fortuitous 
and on the whole fortunate impetus of a complex, intrusive 
culture upon a simpler and most hospitable indigenous one. 

In former times, the head of the household had life and 
death powers over every individual under his roof. The 
American legal system and the missionary teachings between 
them have outlawed and banished these rights. The indi- 
vidual still benefits by the communal ownership of property, 
by the claims which he has on all family land; but he no 
longer suffers from an irksome tyranny which could be en- 
forced with violence and possible death. Deviations from 
chastity were formerly punished in the case of girls by a very 
severe beating and a stigmatising shaving of the head. Mis- 
sionaries have discouraged the beating and head shaving, but 



failed to substitute as forceful an inducement to circumspect 
conduct. The girl whose sex activities are frowned upon by 
her family is in a far better position than that of her great- 
grandmother. The navy has prohibited, the church has inter- 
dicted the defloration ceremony, formerly an inseparable part 
of the marriages of girls of rank; and thus the most potent 
inducement to virginity has been abolished. If for these 
cruel and primitive methods of enforcing a stricter regime 
there had been substituted a religious system which seriously 
branded the sex oifender, or a legal system which prosecuted 
and punished her, then the new hybrid civilisation might have 
been as heavily fraught with possibilities of conflict as the old 
civilisation undoubtedly was. 

This holds true also for the ease with which young people 
change their residence. Formerly it might have been neces- 
sary to flee to a great distance to avoid being beaten to death. 
Now the severe beatings are deprecated, but the running-away 
pattern continues. The old system of succession must have 
produced many heartburns in the sons who did not obtain the 
best titles; to-day two new professions are open to the ambi- 
tious, the ministry and the Fitafitas. The taboo system, al- 
though never as rigorous in Samoa as in other parts of Poly- 
nesia, undoubtedly compelled the people to lead more circum- 
spect lives and stressed more vividly diflFerence in rank. The 
few economic changes which have been introduced have been 
just suflficient to slightly upset the system of prestige which 
was based on display and lavish distribution of property. Ac- 
quiring wealth is easier, through raising copra, government 
employment, or manufacturing curios for the steamer-tourist 
trade on the main island. Many high chiefs do not find it 
worth while to keep up the state to which they are entitled, 
while numerous upstarts have an opportunity to acquire pres- 
tige denied to them under a slower method of accumulating 
wealth. The intensity of local feeling with its resulting 



feuds, wars, jealousies and conflicts (in the case of inter- 
marriage between villages) is breaking down with the im- 
proved facilities for transportation and the co-operation be- 
tween villages in religious and educational matters. 

Superior tools have partially done away with the tyranny of 
the master craftsman. The man who is poor, but ambitious, 
finds it easier to acquire a guest house than it would have 
been when the laborious highly specialised work was done 
with stone tools. The use of some money and of cloth, pur- 
chased from traders, has freed women from part of the im- 
mense labour of manufacturing mats and tapa as units of 
exchange and for clothing. On the other hand, the introduc- 
tion of schools has taken an army of useful little labourers 
out of the home, especially in the case of the little girls who 
cared for the babies, and so tied the adult women more closely 
to routine domestic tasks. 

Puberty was formerly much more stressed than it is to-day. 
The menstrual taboos against participation in the kava cere- 
mony and in certain kinds of cooking were felt and enforced. 
The girl's entrance into the Aualuma was always, not just 
occasionally, marked by a feast. The unmarried girls and 
the widows slept, at least part of the time, in the house of 
the taufo. The taufo herself had a much harder life. To- 
day she pounds the kava root, but in her mother's day it was 
chewed until jaws ached from the endless task. Formerly, 
should a defection from chastity be disclosed at her marriage, 
she faced being beaten to death. The adolescent boy faced tat- 
tooing, a painful, wearisome proceeding, additionally stressed 
by group ceremony and taboo. To-day, scarcely half of the 
young men are tattooed; the tattooing is performed at a much 
more advanced age and has no connection with puberty; the 
ceremonies have vanished and it has become a mere matter of 
a fee to the artist. 

The prohibitions against blood revenge and personal vio- 



lence have worked like a yeast in giving greater personal free- 
dom. As many of the crimes which were formerly punished 
in this fashion are not recognised as crimes by the new au- 
thorities, no new mechanism of punishment has been devised 
for the man who marries the divorced wife of a man of 
higher rank, the miscreant who gossips outside his village and 
so brings his village into disrepute, the insolent detractor who 
recites another's genealogy, or the naughty boy who removes 
the straws from the pierced cocoanuts and thus offers an un- 
speakable affront to visitors. And the Samoan is not in the 
habit of committing many of the crimes listed in our legal 
code. He steals and is fined by the government as he was 
formerly fined by the village. But he comes into very slight 
conflict with the central authorities. He is too accustomed to 
taboos to mind a quarantine prohibition which parades under 
the same guise; too accustomed to the exactions of his rela- 
tions to fret under the small taxation demands of the govern- 
ment. Even the stern attitude formerly taken by the adults 
towards precocity has now been subdued, for what is a sin at 
home becomes a virtue at school. 

The new influences have drawn the teeth of the old cul- 
ture. Cannibalism, war, blood revenge, the life and death 
power of the matai^ the punishment of a man who broke a 
village edict by burning his house, cutting down his trees, 
killing his pigs, and banishing his family, the cruel defloration 
ceremony, the custom of laying waste plantations on the way 
to a funeral, the enormous loss of life in making long voy- 
ages in small canoes, the discomfort due to widespread disease 
— all these have vanished. And as yet their counterparts in 
producing misery have not appeared. 

Economic instability, poverty, the wage system, the separa- 
tion of the worker from his land and from his tools, modern 
warfare, industrial disease, the abolition of leisure, the irk- 
someness of a bureaucratic government — these have not yet 



invaded an island without resources worth exploiting. Nor 
have the subtler penalties of civilisation, neuroses, philosophical 
perplexities, the individual tragedies due to an increased con- 
sciousness of personality and to a greater specialisation of sex 
feeling, or conflicts between religion and other ideals, reached 
the natives. The Samoans have only taken such parts of our 
culture as made their life more comfortable, their culture 
more flexible, the concept of the mercy of God without the 
doctrine of original sin. 




Without any training in the diagnosis of the mentally dis- 
eased and without any apparatus for exact diagnosis of the 
mentally defective, I can simply record a number of amateur 
observations which may be of interest to the specialist inter- 
ested in the possibilities of studying the pathology of primitive 
peoples. In the Manu'a Archipelago with a population of a lit- 
tle over two thousand people, I saw one case which would 
be classed as-idiocy, one imbecile, one boy of fourteen who 
appeared to be both feeble-minded and insane, one man of 
thirty who showed a well-systematised delusion of grandeur, 
and one sexual invert who approximated in a greater develop- 
ment of the breasts, mannerism and attitudes of women and 
a preference for women's activities, to the norm of the oppo- 
site sex. The idiot child was one of seven children; he had 
a younger brother who had walked for over a year, and the 
mother declared that there were two years between the chil- 
dren. His legs were shrunken and withered, he had an enor- 
mous belly and a large head set very low on his shoulders. He 
could neither walk nor talk, drooled continually, and had no 
command over his excretory functions. The imbecile girl 
lived on another island and I had no opportunity to observe 
her over any length of time. She was one or two years past 
puberty and was pregnant at the time that I saw her. She 
could talk and perform the simple tasks usually performed by 
children of five or six. She seemed to only half realise her 
condition and giggled foolishly or stared vacantly when it was 



mentioned. The fourteen-year-old boy was at the time when 
I saw him definitely demented, giving an external picture of 
catatonic dementia pra^cox. He took those attitudes which 
were urged upon him, at times, however, becoming violent and 
unmanageable. The relatives insisted that he had always been 
stupid but only recently become demented. For this I have 
only their word as I was only able to observe the boy during 
a few days. In no one of these three cases of definite mental 
deficiency was there any family history which threw any light 
upon the matter. Among the girls whom I studied in detail 
only one, Sala, discussed in Chapter X, was sufficiently inferior 
to the general norm of intelligence to approximate to a m oron . 

The man with the systematised delusion of grandeur was 
said to be about thirty years of age. Gaunt and emaciated, 
he looked much older. He believed that he was Tufele, the 
high chief of another island and the governor of the entire 
archipelago. The natives conspired against him to rob him of 
his rank and to exalt an usurper in his stead. He was a mem- 
ber of the Tufele family but only very remotely so that his 
delusion bore no relation to reality as he would never have 
had any hope of succeeding to the title. The natives, he said, 
refused to give him food, mocked him, disallowed his claims, 
did their best to destroy him, while a few white people were 
wise enough to recognise his rank. (The natives instructed 
visitors to address him in the chief's language because he con- 
sented to dance, a weird pathetic version of the usual style, 
only when so opportuned.) He had no outbreaks of violence, 
was morose, recessive, only able to work at times and never 
able to do heavy work or to be trusted to carry through any 
complicated task. He was treated with universal gentleness 
and toleration by his relatives and neighbours. 

From informants I obtained accounts of four cases on 
Tutuila which sounded like the manic stage of manic de- 
pressive insanity. All four of these individuals had been vio- 



lently destructive, and uncontrollable for a period of time, but 
had later resumed what the natives considered normal func- 
tioning. An old woman who had died some ten years before 
was said to have compulsively complied with any command 
that was given her. There was one epileptic boy in Tau, a 
member of an otherwise normal family of eight children. 
He fell from a tree during a seizure and died from a frac- 
tured skull soon after I came to Manu'a. A little girl of 
about ten who was paralysed from the waist down was said to 
be suffering from an overdose of salvarsan and to have been 
normal until she was live or six years old. 

Only two individuals, one a married woman of thirty or 
so, the other a girl of nineteen, discussed in Chapter X, showed 
a definite neurasthenic constitution. The married woman was 
barren and spent a great deal of time explaining her barren- 
ness as need of an operation. The presence of an excellent 
surgeon at the Samoan hospital during the preceding two years 
had greatly enhanced the prestige -of operations. On Tutuila, 
near the Naval Station, I encountered several middle-aged 
women obsessed with operations which they had undergone 
or were soon to undergo. Whether this vogue of modern 
surgery, by giving it special point, has added to the amount 
of apparent neurasthenia or not, it is impossible to say. 

Of hysterical manifestations, I encountered only one, a 
girl of fourteen or fifteen with a bad tic in the right side of 
her face. I only saw her for a few minutes on a journey 
and was unable to make any investigations. I neither saw 
nor heard of any cases of hysterical blindness or deafness, nor 
or any anaesthesias nor paralyses. 

I saw no cases of cretinism. There were a few children 
who had been blind from birth. Blindness, due to the ex- 
tremely violent methods used by the native practitioners in 
the treatment of "Samoan conjunctivitis," is common. 

The pathology which is immediately apparent to any visitor 



in a Samoan village is mainly due to the diseased eyes, ele- 
phantiasis, and abscesses and sores of various sorts, but the stig- 
mata of degeneration are almost entirely absent. 

There was one albino, a girl of ten, with no albinism in 
the recorded family history, but as one parent, now dead, had 
come from another island, this was not at all conclusive data. 




This study included sixty-eight girls between the ages of 
eight and nine and nineteen or twenty — all the girls between 
these ages in the three villages of Faleasao, Luma and Siufaga, 
the three villages on the west coast of the island of Tau in 
the Manu'a Archipelago of the Samoan Islands. 

Owing to the impossibility of obtaining accurate dates of 
birth except in a very few cases, the ages must all be regarded 
as approximate. The approximations were based upon the few 
known ages and the testimony of relatives as to the relative 
age of the others. For purpose of description and analysis I 
have divided them roughly into three groups, the children who 
showed no mammary signs of puberty, twenty-eight in num- 
ber, ranging in age from eight or nine to about twelve or 
thirteen; the children who would probably mature within the 
next year or year and a half, fourteen in number, ranging in 
age from twelve or thirteen to fourteen or fifteen; and the 
girls who were past puberty, but who were not yet considered 
as adults by the community, twenty-five in number, ranging 
in age from fourteen or fifteen to nineteen or twenty. These 
two latter groups and eleven of the younger children were 
studied in detail, making a group of fifty. The remaining 
fourteen children in the youngest group were studied less care- 
fully as individuals. They formed a large check group in 
studying play, gang life, the development of brother and 
sister avoidance, the attitude between the sexes, the difiFerence 
in the interests and activities of this age and the girls ap- 
proaching puberty. They also provided abundant material for 



the study of the education and discipline of the child in the 
home. The two tables present in summary form the major 
statistical facts which were gathered about the children spe- 
cially studied, order of birth, number of brothers and sisters, 
death or remarriage or divorce of parents, residence of the 
child, type of household in which the child lived and whether 
the girl was the daughter of the head of the household or not. 
The second table relates only to the twenty-five girls past 
puberty and gives length of time since first menstruation, fre- 
quency of menstruation, amount and location of menstrual 
pain, the presence or absence of masturbation, homosexual and 
heterosexual experience, and the very pertinent fact of resi- 
dence or non-residence in the pastor's household. A survey 
of the summary analyses joined to these tables will show that 
these fifty girls present a fairly wide range in family organi- 
sation, order of birth, and relation to parents. The group 
may be fairly considered as representative of the various types 
of environment, personal and social, which are found in 
Samoan civilisation as it is to-day. 


Within last six months 6 

Within last year 3 

Within last two years 5 

Within last three years 7 

Within last four years 3 

Within last five years I 

Total 25 










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Column Subject 

1 Number of older brothers 

2 Number of older sisters 

3 Number of younger brothers 

4 Number of younger sisters 

5 Half brother, fluSy number older, minus, number 


6 Half sister, fluSy number older, m-inuSj number 


7 Mother dead 

8 Father dead 

9 Child of mother's second marriage 

10 Child of father's second marriage 

1 1 Mother remarried 
.12 Father remarried 

13 Residence with both parents and patrilocal 

14 Residence with both parents and matrilocal 

15 Residence with mother only 

16 Residence with father only 

17 Parents divorced 

18 Residence with paternal relatives 

19 Residence with maternal relatives 

20 Father is m-atai of household 

21 Residence in a biological family, i.e., household of 

parents, children, and no more than two additional 

X in the table means the presence of trait. For example, x 
in column 7 means that the mother is dead. 





There were among the sixty-eight girls: 

7 only children 

15 youngest children 

5 oldest children 

5 with half brother or sister in the same household 

5 whose mother was dead 

14 whose father was dead 

3 who were children of mother's second marriage 
2 children of father's second marriage 

7 whose mother had remarried 

5 whose father had remarried 

4 residence with both parents patrilocal 

8 residence with both parents matrilocal 

9 residence with mother only 
I residence with father only 
7 parents divorced 

12 residence with paternal relatives (without either 

6 residence with maternal relatives (without either 

15, or 30%, whose fathers were heads of households 
12 who belonged to a qualified biological family (i.e., 
a family which during my stay on the island com- 
prised only two relatives beside the parents and 


It was impossible to standardise any intelligence tests and 
consequently my results are quantitatively valueless. But as 
I had had some experience in the diagnostic use of tests, I 
found them useful in forming a preliminary estimate of the 



girls' intelligence. Also, the natives have long been accus- 
tomed to examinations which the missionary authorities con- 
duct each year, and the knowledge that an examination is in 
progress makes them respect the privacy of investigator and 
subject. In this way it was possible for me to get the chil- 
dren alone, without antagonising their parents. Furthermore, 
the novelty of the tests, especially the colour-naming and 
picture interpretation tests, served to divert their attention 
from other questions which I wished to ask them. The re- 
sults of the tests showed a much narrower range than would 
be expected in a group varying in age from ten to twenty. 
Without any standardisation it is impossible to draw any more 
detailed conclusions. I shall, however, include a few com- 
ments about the peculiar responses which the girls made to 
particular tests, as I believe such comment is useful in evaluat- 
ing intelligence testing among primitive peoples and also in 
estimating the possibilities of such testing. 

Tests Used 

Colour Naming. lOO half -inch squares, red, yellow, 
black and blue. 

Rote Memory for Digits. Customary Stanford Binet 
directions were used. 

Digit Symbol Substitution. 72 one-inch figures, square, 
circle, cross, triangle and diamond. 

Opposites. 23 words. Stimulus words: fat, white, long, 
old, tall, wise, beautiful, late, night, near, hot, win, 
thick, sweet, tired, slow, rich, happy, darkness, up, 
inland, inside, sick. 

Picture Interpretation. Three reproductions from the 
moving picture Moana, showing, (a) Two children 
who had caught a cocoanut crab by smoking it out of 
the rocks above them, (b) A canoe putting out to sea 
after bonito as evidenced by the shape of the canoe 




and the position of the crew, (^r) A Samoan girl sitting 
on a log eating a small live fish which a boy, gar- 
landed and stretched on the ground at her feet, had 
given her. 
Ball and Field. Standard-sized circle. 
Standard directions were given throughout in all cases en- 
tirely in Samoan. Many children, unused to such definitely 
set tasks, although all are accustomed to the use of slate and 
of pencil and paper, had to be encouraged to start. The ball 
and field test was the least satisfactory as in over fifty per 
cent of the cases the children followed an accidental first line 
and simply completed an elaborate pattern within the circle. 
When this pattern happened by accident to be either the In- 
ferior or Superior solution, the child's comment usually be- 
trayed the guiding idea as aesthetic rather than as an attempt 
to solve the problem. The children whom I was led to be- 
lieve to be most intelligent, subordinated the zesthetic consid- 
eration to the solution of the problem, but the less intelligent 
children were sidetracked by their interest in the design they 
could make much more easily than are children in our civili- 
sation. In only two cases did I find a rote memory for digits 
which exceeded six digits; two girls completing seven suc- 
cessfully. The Samoan civilisation puts the slightest of pre- 
miums upon rote memory of any sort. On the digit-symbol 
test they were slow to understand the point of the test and 
very few learned the combinations before the last line of the 
test sheet. The picture interpretation test was the most sub- 
ject to vitiation through a cultural factor; almost all of the 
children adopted some highly stylized form of comment and 
then pursued it through one balanced sentence after another: 
"Beautiful is the boy and beautiful is the girl. Beautiful 
is the garland of the boy and beautiful is the wreath of the 
girl," etc. In the two pictures which emphasised human be- 
ings no discussion could be commenced until the question of 



the relationship of the characters had been ascertained. The 
opposites test was the one which they did most easily, a natural 
consequence of a vivid interest in words, an interest which 
leads them to spend most of their mythological speculation 
upon punning explanations of names. 


In order to standardise this investigation I made out a ques- 
tionnaire which I filled out for each girl. The questions were'' 
not asked consecutively but from time to time I added one 
item of information after another to the record sheets. The 
various items fell into the loose groupings indicated below. 

Agricultural froficiency. Weeding, selecting leaves for use 
in cooking, gathering bananas, taro, breadfruit, cutting 
cocoanuts for copra. 

Cooking. Skinning bananas, grating cocoanut, preparing 
breadfruit, mixing falusamiy^ wrapping falusamiy mak- 
ing tafoloy\ making banana foiy making arrow-root 

Fishing. Daylight reef fishing, torchlight reef fishing, gath- 
ering lolcy catching small fish on reef, using the "come 
hither" octopus stick, gathering large crabs. 

Weaving. Balls, pin-wheels, baskets to hold food gifts, carry- 
ing baskets, woven blinds, floor mats, fishing baskets, food 
trays, thatching mats, roof bonetting mats, plain fans, 
pandanus floor mats, bed mats (number of designs known 

* Palusami — a pudding prepared from grated cocoanut, flavoured 
with red hot stone, mixed with sea water, and wrapped in taro leaves, 
from which the acrid stem has been scorched, then in a banana leaf, 
finally in a. breadfruit leaf. 

t Tafolo — a pudding made of breadfruit with a sauce of grated 



and number of mats completed), fine mats, dancing 
skirts, sugar-cane thatch. 

Bark cloth making. Gathering paper mulberry wands, scrap- 
ing the bark, pounding the bark, using a pattern board, 
tracing patterns free hand. 

Care of clothing. Washing, ironing, ironing starched clothes, 
sewing, sewing on a machine, embroidering. 

Athletics. Climbing palm trees, swimming, swimming in the 
swimming hole within the reef,* playing cricket. 

Kava making. Pounding the kava root, distributing the kava, 
making the kava, shaking out the hibiscus bark strainer. 

Proficiency in foreign things. Writing a letter, telling time, 
reading a calendar, filling a fountain pen. 


Reciting the family genealogy. 

Index of knowledge of the courtesy language. Giving the 
chiefs' words for: arm, leg, food, house, dance, wife, 
sickness, talk, sit. Giving courtesy phrases of welcome, 
when passing in front of some one. 

Experience of life and death. Witnessing of birth, miscar- 
riage, intercourse, death, Cresarian post-mortem opera- 

Marital preferences^ rank, residence, age of marriage, number 
of children. 

Index of knowledge of the social organisation. Reason for 
Cssarian post-mortem, proper treatment of a chief's bed, 
exactions of the brother and sister taboo, penalties at- 
tached to cocoanut tafuiy\ proper treatment of a kava 

* Swimming- in the hole within the reef required more skill than 
swimming in still water; it involved diving and also battling with a 
water level which changed several feet with each great wave. 

t Tapui. The hieroglj'phic signs used by the Samoans to protect 
their property from thieves. The tapui calls down an automatic mag- 
ical penalty upon the transgressor. The penalty for stealing from 
property protected by the cocoanut tapui is boih. 



bowl, the titles and present incumbents of the titles of 
the Manaia of Luma, Siufaga and Faleasao, the Taupo 
of Fitiuta, the meaning of the Fale Ula * the Umu Sa, f 
the Mua o le taule'ale'a, J the proper kinds of property 
for a marriage exchange, who was the high chief of 
Luma, Siufaga, Faleasao and Fitiuta, and what consti- 
tuted the Lafo § of the talking chief. 

* The ceremonial name of the council house of the Tui Manu'a. 

■f* The sacred oven of food and the ceremony accompanying its pres- 
entation and the presentation of fine mats to the carpenters who have 
completed a new house. 

$ The ceremonial call of the young men of the village upon a visit- 
ing maiden. 

§ The ceremonial perquisite of the talking chief, usually a piece of 
tapa, occasionally a fine mat. 



Aumaga ('aumaga) — the organisation of untitled men in each 

Samoan village. 
Aualuma — the organisation of unmarried girls past puberty, 

wives of untitled men and u^idows. 
Afafine — daughter (man speaking). 
Aiga — relative. 
Atali'i — son (man speaking). 
Avaga — elopement. 

Fa'alupega — the courtesy phrases, recited in formal speeches, 
which embody the social pattern of each village. 

Fale — house. 

Faletua — "she who sits in the back of the house." The cour- 
tesy term for a chief's wife. 

Fono — a meeting. Specifically the organisation of titled men 
of a village, district or island. 

Fitafita — a member of the native marine corps. 

Ifo — to lower oneself to some one whom one has offended or 

Ifoga — the act of doing so. 

Lavalava — a loin cloth, fastened by a twist in the material 

at the waist. 
Lole — a sort of jelly fish; applied by the natives to candy. 



Malaga — a travelling party; a journey. 

Manaia — the heir-apparent of the principal chief; the 1" >•.> 
of the Aumaga; the heir of any important citief v 
title carries the privilege of giving a manaia titl ' 1.- 

Matai — the holder of a title; the head of a househo''^ 

Moetotolo — surreptitious rape. 

Moni — true, real. 

Musu — unwillingness, obstinacy tov^^ards any course of action. 

Olomatua — old woman. 

Papalagi — white men; literally, "sky bursters." Foreig . 
Pua — the frangipani tree. 

Soa — a companion in circumcision- an ambassador in ve 

Soafafine — a woman ambassador in love affairs. 
Siva — to dance; a dance. 

Tama — a child, a son (woman speaking). 

Tama — father. 

Tamafafine — a child of the distaff side of the house. 

Tamatane — a child of the male line. 

Tapa — bark cloth. 

Taule'ale'a — a member of the Aumaga; an untitled mui 

Taupo — the village ceremonial hostess; the girl whom a high 

chief has honoured with a title and a distribution of 

Tausi — the courtesy term for the wife of a talking chiel, 

literally, "to care for." 
Tei — a younger sibling. 
Teine — a girl. 
Teinetiti — a little girl. 



T:n;i- -mothe . 

Toa'ina — an old man. 

l^iafafin? — female sibling of a male. 

Tuag^ne — male sibling of a female. 

Tulafale — a talking chief. 

t r 

U 1- Dling of the same sex. 


The vowels are all pronounced as in Italian. 
G i-> always pronounced like NG. 
Th? Glottal stop is indicated by a ('). 






University of California Library 
Los Angeles 

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JAN 1 " 2008 

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